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Xi visits Xinjiang amid human rights concerns

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited the northwestern Xinjiang region this week amid concerns over China’s detention of a million or more members of primarily Muslim ethnic native minorities.

Xi called Xinjiang a “core area and a hub” in China’s programme of building ports, railways and power stations connecting it to economies reaching from Central Asia to Eastern Europe, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.

Xi met with leaders of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a supra-governmental body that operates its own courts, schools and health system under the military system imposed on the region after the Communist Party’s rise to power in 1949.

Xi “learned about the history of the XPCC in cultivating and guarding the frontier areas”, Xinhua reported. Xinjiang borders Russia, Afghanistan and volatile Central Asia, which China has sought to draw within its orbit through economic incentives and security alliances.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the community of Guyuanxiang in the Tianshan District in Urumqi in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. PHOTO: AP
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