CHINA TOPIX

Updated 6:02 PM EDT, Wed, Apr 01, 2020

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Xinjiang Residents Ordered By Chinese Police To Surrender Passports

"Yining"

(Photo : Wikimedia Commons) "Yining"

Xinjiang residents, belonging to an ethnically diverse prefecture in China, have been requested by the Chinese police to surrender their passports by Friday or face the consequence of cancellation of their documents, according to an officer who made the announcement last Thursday.

The policy was executed in order to form a solution to solve ethnic violence that is prevalent in the region of Xinjiang. The government, placing emphasis on guarding the Xinjiang prefecture, implemented systemic restrictions in terms of immigration on the Chinese border.

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Ethnic tensions have been prevalent in the place particularly between the ethnic Uighurs and the dominant ethnic groups, the Han. The Han population was gradually increasing in number for the past few years.

"I actually think this notice is indicative of a significant shift in policy," said Nicholas Bequelin, director of East Asia branch of Amnesty International.

Chinese authorities revealed their suspicion of "jihadist ideology" among the Uighurs, whose population is predominantly Sunni Muslims.

The directive of turning over passports in the Northern Xinjiang prefecture was stipulated by the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, an area that is considered as a "melting pot" due to its ethnic diversity. This prefecture, a large and rugged area of Northern Xinjiang, consists of Kazakhs, Uighurs and Mongolians among the population of three million.

Sixty three percent of the population is the ethnic minorities and the remaining are the Han, according to statistics.

Uighurs faced the challenge of the process of issuing a passport for many years. However, the police follow the ad hoc process of the 'blanket withdrawal' of passport across the Ili prefecture.

A notice that circulated around the internet last April 30, elucidates the order of all residents to turn over their passports by May 15. Deviance of this act will result to voiding of the passports by the Public Security Board.

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