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The War in the Shadows: Challenges of Fighting Terrorism in Xinjiang

By Cui Jia | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-04-02 15:07

A documentary airing on Friday exposes how some former senior officials of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region were actually "two-faced people" who were behind regional sabotage activities but acted as if they were terrorist and extremist fighters.

"The War in the Shadows" — a 55-minute documentary produced by China Global Television Network — has revealed how some officials hidden in government bodies have backed the spread of extremism and terrorism in Xinjiang.

Such people include Shirzat Bawudun, former police chief in Moyu county of Hotan and then head of the Xinjiang regional justice department and deputy secretary of the Political and Legal Commission of Communist Party of China Xinjiang Committee, and Sattar Sawut, former director of the Xinjiang regional education department.

"Those 'two-faced people' are the enemies in the shadows," Murat Sheripjan, deputy director of the Public Security Department of Hotan prefecture, said in the documentary. "We have to spot and eliminate them from the system. Otherwise, we can never remove the soil for terrorism."

He said these "two-faced people" in key positions have created many obstacles in rooting out terrorist and extremist forces as they have offered protection to them and even become their agents. "As a result, the influence of those forces had expanded."

The documentary shows a detailed route of how Shirzat Bawudun secretly collaborated with extremists and even the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, and facilitated their activities in Xinjiang.

Besides offering support to extremism, terrorism and separatism, some former officials, such as Sattar Sawut, chose to poison the minds of the younger generation so they can be groomed into separatists.

In 2016, there were reports of errors in the 2003 and 2009 editions of the Uygur-language textbooks for primary and middle schools. The textbooks even featured the "national emblem" of so-called East Turkistan. These were the work of Sattar Sawut, the former chief education official in Xinjiang, and such textbooks were used in Xinjiang for 13 years.

Both of the officials were given death sentences with a two-year reprieve, according to the documentary.

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