Chen Quanguo, iron hand of Beijing in Xinjiang, in the viewfinder of the United States

Chen Quanguo, main de fer de Pékin au Xinjiang, dans le viseur des États-Unis

Beijing | chief conductor of the repressive system in the north-west of china, he is now the subject of u.s. sanctions: Chen Quanguo, the strong man from Beijing in the Xinjiang region, is being targeted for its treatment of muslim uighurs.

At 64 years old, this ex-military from August 2016, the most senior communist in this extensive territory three times the size of France, long hit by attacks attributed to separatist or islamist.

Xinjiang has a population of approximately 25 million inhabitants, predominantly muslims, especially the Uighurs, an ethnic group that speaks a language related to Turkish. It is the subject for the past few years a recovery is in hand safe.

It was after the arrival of Chen Quanguo that have arisen from reports of an archipelago of camps in the region. More than a million muslims, especially Uighurs, are or have been interned, according to international organizations of defense of Human rights.

Beijing denies this figure and says that it is the vocational training centres, intended to help people to find a job in order to keep her away from the temptation of islamist extremism.

For Chen Quanguo, this mission safe is not the first in a region plagued with ethnic tensions: it has occupied the same functions of secretary of the communist Party of china (CPC) in Tibet between 2011 and 2016.

He is noted for having restored the order after protests and a series of self-immolations of buddhist monks.

“As prisons “

“Mr. Chen has acquired the reputation of an innovator, with a nationalities policy that ensures that the minorities in the independence claims follow the line” of the CCP, writes the German researcher Adrian Zenz, a specialist on Xinjiang.

For a long time in the crosshairs of the United States, Chen Quanguo is formally referred to since Thursday by sanctions from Washington, which accuses him of being in “connection with serious violations of the rights of Man,” in particular against the Uighurs.

He and his family won’t be able to make it on american soil. Two other politicians past and the present in Xinjiang, are also covered.

China welcomes the absence of attacks in the region since the arrival of Chen Quanguo and the establishment of ubiquitous surveillance: identity checks, cameras, facial recognition, or even police roadblocks.

Beijing rejects the term “camps” to refer to its ” vocational training centres “. But Mr. Chen in person has wanted these sites to be able to ” teach like schools, to be managed like the army, and defended like prisons “, according to internal documents seen by AFP.

Of Uighurs in exile said that some of their relatives were able to be interned on grounds that are frivolous such as the wearing of a beard is too long or of a veil.

Police stations

“In terms of detentions, extrajudicial and arbitrary, Mr. Chen is the most aggressive (leaders of Xinjiang) in the last 40 years “, writes researcher Shawn Zhang, the University of British Columbia, who studies the map of detention sites via satellite images.

Chen Quanguo has put in place in Xinjiang, a policy similar to the one it had applied in Tibet — where the cities are now ruled by police stations.

During its first 12 months at the head of the region, Mr. Chen “has opened up so many recruitments in the security services that during his five years in Tibet, reported to the population,” says Adrian Zenz.

Border of central Asia, Xinjiang is crucial for the success of the project eurasian infrastructure of the ” New silk road “, launched by the chinese president Xi Jinping in 2013.

Chen Quanguo was born in a poor family in Henan province (centre), has been rewarded for the newfound stability of the region as early as 2017: he became a member of the political Bureau of the CPC, the body of 25 members who runs the China.

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