China's new strategies to control Uyghurs include community policing, targeting users of Mobile app Zapya
China has now come up with a new strategy to control the Muslim minority Uyghurs which includes community policing and targeting users of Mobile app Zapya.
Eryk Bagshaw, writing in The Sunday Morning Herald (SMH) said that Chinese officials have implemented a "trinity mechanism" in the new Xinjiang, involving managers responsible for 10 households, fake families from the Han Chinese majority and the Political and Legal Affairs Commission (PLAC).
The household managers are trained in intelligence, propaganda and re-education, while the fake families are appointed to "show warmth" to their appointed Uyghur relatives while watching their homes for any signs of religious or political subversion.
All of it is overseen by the PLAC, which is notified of "enemy movements" including having an unexpected visitor at home, driving a car that does not belong to them, receiving an overseas phone call, or using file-sharing apps such as Zapya, wrote Bagshaw.
The commission has established 9000 police substations to monitor each community, reported SMH.
An Uyghur teenager Anayat Ablitz had already been detained by Chinese authorities for eight months after he used a banned file-sharing app, Zapya.
The app allows residents in Xinjiang to share movies, music and other material that is censored by China's great firewall over a Bluetooth-style connection.
Ablitz disputed a separate claim that he had used a virtual private network (VPN) - as another way around China's draconian internet restrictions.
Ablitz's account, taken from Chinese police reports in Xinjiang, is one of a dozen in the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's [ASPI] new report on the region where up to 1 million Uyghurs have been detained in re-education camps, said Bagshaw.
The research, funded by the British Foreign Office, shows how Chinese authorities have mobilised a campaign of grassroots governance as it moves from using police crackdowns to suppress the threat of terrorism to transforming entire neighbourhoods into Chinese Communist Party-abiding citizens, reported SMH.
Satellite imagery shows some lower-security detention centres have been decommissioned in Xinjiang in favour of community policing, while other higher security facilities have continued to be built until this year, wrote Bagshaw.
At the same time, the community policing structure for those outside detention has created a fear of constant surveillance, with both local Han Chinese families and some Uyghurs becoming part of the intelligence apparatus in exchange for economic and political gain through the Party.
"People eventually felt as though they were part of the police, with a taste for watching and reporting on one another," said Uyghur poet Tahir Hamut Izgil. "They remained constantly ready to confront enemies, and at the same time often felt that they themselves were the enemy."
The records also show the key figures in charge of implementing the new regime. Among them are rising stars of the Party including Yao Ning, a 36-year-old Harvard educated Party secretary of Maralbeshi county, and Yang Fasen, who at 50 is the youngest ministerial-level official in Xinjiang and so passionate about the Party that he burst into a song about how short life is while giving a propaganda lecture.
"Yao personifies Xi Jinping's ideal cadre: young, loyal and capable," said the ASPI researchers.
Yao said as a student: "[I'd like to] go to the place where the motherland needs [me] the most. Get up on the big stage and have a big career."
Yao was one of 103 officials to meet Xi on the eve of the Chinese Communist Party's 100th birthday in July.
Yang is the secretary responsible for Hotan prefecture where 52 detention facilities have been built and thousands of bus drivers have been mobilised to preach to passengers and monitor for any sign of dissent. He was recently promoted to vice-governor of the region.
The methods used in Xinjiang are proving lucrative not only for local officials but for others across the country on the make. Xinjiang has become a testing ground for the rest of China, reported SMH.