UHRP releases new report- ‘The Bingtuan: China’s Paramilitary Colonizing Force in East Turkestan’

Uyghur Human Rights Project, 26 April 2018

UHRP – The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) announces the publication of a new report entitled ‘The Bingtuan: China’s Paramilitary Colonizing Force in East Turkestan.’

The bingtuan, also known as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), is a paramilitary organization in East Turkestan that answers directly to the central Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government in Beijing. Its goals are primarily colonial: develop the land in East Turkestan, secure the border, and maintain stability. Its structure reflects its paramilitary organization, with 14 divisions made up of dozens of regiments. Ethnically, the bingtuan is 86% Han, compared to the overall proportion of Han in East Turkestan, which is 40%.

The bingtuan represents one of the foremost institutions of Han dominance, and marginalization of Uyghurs and other indigenous ethnic groups, in East Turkestan.

“For Uyghurs, the bingtuan is a force of repression, a reminder of the Chinese Communist Party’s denial of genuine Uyghur participation in regional decision-making. The bingtuan is a clear demonstration of Beijing’s broken promise to grant Uyghurs meaningful autonomy after the People’s Liberation Army entered East Turkestan in 1949,” said UHRP Director Omer Kanat in a statement.

Mr. Kanat added: “The bingtuan has thrived while Uyghur communities seek viable livelihoods under conditions of Chinese government marginalization. The bingtuan wields considerable political and economic power in the region and is responsible for the violent suppression of Uyghur calls for equal rights. The bingtuan consolidates and propels the Chinese state apparatus of Uyghur repression in East Turkestan. UHRP’s report attempts to lift the lid on an entity accountable for numerous human rights violations inflicted on Uyghurs.”

‘The Bingtuan: China’s Paramilitary Colonizing Force in East Turkestan’ details bingtuan activity regarding propaganda, urbanization, prisons, militarization, employment discrimination, and rural policies causing displacement and environmental destruction. The report methodology includes translation of Chinese government documents, interviews with Uyghur people living overseas who witnessed bingtuan policies firsthand before fleeing East Turkestan, and research on academic and media reports in Chinese, Uyghur, and English, particularly using the UHRP’s access to Uighurbiz, the website of Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti.

The report makes several key recommendations including the dismantling of the bingtuan and the ceasing of migration of Han Chinese recruited by the bingtuan. UHRP urges the Chinese government to create longer-term plans to redistribute bingtuan land assets and mineral rights to the people of East Turkestan. Furthermore, UHRP recommends that China demilitarize the bingtuan military and police force. All law enforcement officials in East Turkestan must be accountable to the community and ethnic minorities including the Uyghur people.

‘The Bingtuan: China’s Paramilitary Colonizing Force in East Turkestan’ can be downloaded here: https://docs.uhrp.org/pdf/bingtuan.pdf