China lockdown: Residents locked indoors as outbreak sparks panic – streets deserted

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Early this week an outbreak of coronavirus was reported in the securitised region of Xinjiang in western China. The virus was detected in a “densely packed” factory in Kashgar with links to forced labour. Reports from the region reveal guards standing at the gates of housing blocks stopping people from leaving and descriptions of houses being padlocked and residents locked within.

Reporter Qin Chen has described the city as being “deserted”.

The reporter for Inkstone added: “I drove past block after block of closed shopping malls, restaurants, and department stores.

“On a few stretches of road, the only automobiles in sight were my rental car and police patrol vehicles.”

She described entering a hotel where most of the staff were missing because “our staff can’t get out of their homes”.

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A local business owner spoke of the region falling into economic collapse because people “can’t come out”.

The factory at the centre of the outbreak was organised by a state-ran programme that has been found to be linked to forced labour.

Professor Adrian Zenz, an expert in China and its ‘re-education camps’, said “coercive” procedures are being used in Xinjiang.

Prof Zenz, who has researched official Chinese government data, said: “This is a village factory that is part of the scheme to put all adult Uighurs and related minorities into low-skilled factory work as part of poverty alleviation.

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“Those who resist being ‘alleviated’ from their poverty are subjected to ideological education so that their thinking aligns with the state’s goals.”

The oasis city of Kashgar, that has a majority population of Uighur Muslims, has been placed into an extreme lockdown situation.

The region has the highest amount of security apparatus in China and is patrolled by thousands of Chinese police and army personnel.

The Xinjiang region is the scene of a Chinese social engineering policy that has seen the incarceration of millions of ethnic Uighur people into so-called “re-education” camps.

The Canadian Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development called for sanctions against Chinese officials who are connected to human rights abuse in Xinjiang.

China’s foreign minister Zhao Lijian denounced the findings of the subcommittee as “groundless”.

He said the statement was “full of lies and disinformation”.

He added: “This is blatant interference in China’s internal affairs and reflects those Canadian individuals’ ignorance and prejudice.

“China firmly deplores and rejects that. China has repeatedly made clear our stern position on Xinjiang.

“Xinjiang-related issues are not at all about human rights.

“The so-called genocide in Xinjiang is a rumour and a farce fabricated by some anti-China forces to slander China.”

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