8,000 ‘Stability Maintenance’ Officers to Be Recruited in China’s Xinjiang

The Epoch Times, 31 January 2012
By John An & Matthew Robertson

The Chinese regime is recruiting 8,000 security officers to strengthen its grassroots “stability maintenance” police force in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. According to a report in the state mouthpiece Xinhua on Jan. 30, a policy of “one village, one policeman” (or sometimes more than one) will be carried out in rural areas.

According to the state media, the police, along with village police, adjunct police, militia forces, and “defense team members” will investigate “illegal religious activities” and mainly perform “people-control” stability maintenance work.

Since clashes two years ago caused over 200 deaths, ethnic tensions in Xinjiang have been high; a shootout in Hotan in July 2011 resulted in 18 deaths.  Chinese state media said the incident was a case of violence and terrorism, but overseas Uyghur groups said that a protest was brutally suppressed, resulting in tragic violence.

In an interview with the Radio Free Asia, Dilshat Reshit, spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress, based in Munich, said that the move to hire 8,000 village cops was meant to ramp up repression and its surveillance.

He added: “Due to the relentless crackdown bylocal authorities, local Uyghur people dare not receive interviews from overseas media.”