Xinjiang crackdown in the heart of China's Belt and Road

KHORGOS: Traders Travel Freely Through The Bustling Special Economic Zone Of Khorgos Stretching Across The Border Between Kazakhstan And China, But Signs On The Chinese Side Wear A Blunt Warning - No Veils Or Long Beards Allowed.

The ' Is A Grim Reminder Of The Strict Security Policy That China Has Imposed On Primarily Muslim Ethnic Minorities In Its Vast Border Region, Considering It Crucial To President's Success Xi Jinping ' S Cherished (BRI).

The Gateway To Central Asia And The Main Project Partner Pakistan, Xinjiang, Forms The Core Of The Global Trade Infrastructure Program.

A Series Of Riots, Bombings, And Stabs Over The Years That Were Blamed For Ethnic Uyghurs Prompted The Authorities To Launch A Massive Action Against Security In The Western Region.

The BRI Is An Important Factor Behind The Central Government's Urge To Bring The Restful Xinjiang Region Under Control Once And For All, Said Adrian Zenz, An Independent German Researcher Who Specializes In Xinjiang.

The Drastic Measures Included, Among Other Things, The Placement Of A Million Ushaws And Other Predominantly Islamic Turkish-speaking Minorities, Including Ethnic Kazakhs And Kyrgyz People, In Internment Camps That Defeat Beijing As" Vocational Training Centers" .

Uighur Women From Pakistani Traders Are Also Dragged Into The Dragnet.

The Harsh Performance Has Placed The Leaders Of Central Asia And Pakistan, Who Have Participated This Week At A Belt And Road Summit In Beijing, In An Awkward Position.

Key Receivers From BRI Projects, They Have Refrained From Public Criticism On China's Approach S Xinjiang Despite Dissatisfaction In Their Own Country.

Frankly Speaking, I Don't Know Much About Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Telling The Financial Times In March When He Was Asked About The Treatment Of Uyghurs By China.

Although Kazakhstan Has Stated That The Well-being Of Ethnic Kazakhs In China Is An" Important Factor." In Close Cooperation With Beijing, It Also Expressed Its Support For China's Fight Against Terrorism, Extremism And Separatism.

The Kazakh Authorities Suspect An Activist On Suspicion Of Inciting Interethnic Hatred After Emphasizing The Treatment Of Ethnic Kazakhs In Xinjiang, While An Escaped Chinese Citizen Who Described The Circumstances In An Internment Camp Did Not Receive Asylum.

Fundamentally For These Countries, It Is Quite Difficult Because They Have This Economic Partner That Will Only Get Bigger And More Powerful, Said Raffaello Pantucci, Director Of International Security Studies At The Royal United Services Institute.

They Should Try To Manage That Relationship And At The Same Time Ensure That They Represent Their People To Some Extent, Pantucci Said.

Xi Chose The Capital Of Kazakhstan ' It's To Launch His Pet Project In 2013, A Symbolic Choice That Central Asia's Historic Site Focused On The Old Silk Road.

Projects Include A Highway Between China, Kyrgyzstan And Uzbekistan, A Railway Tunnel In Uzbekistan And A Regional Natural Gas Pipeline.

China ' Investments In Central Asia Pre-date BRI As Beijing Has Long Considered Development In The Region As The Key To Pacificying Xinjiang, Pantucci Said.

From China ' S Perspective, The Long-Term Answer To Problems - Separatism, Misfortune In Xinjiang - Is In Fact Economic Prosperity, He Said.

Kazakhstan And China Share The Massive, Special Trade Hub In Khorgos, Where Traders Can Shop For Clothing, Kitchen Utensils, And Other Goods Without Needing A Visa To Go Through Security Checks.

The Goods Are Cheaper There. Every Day We Can Come To The Border Without Feeling Like A Border, Said Aida Massimzhanova, A Resident In Kazakhstan S Largest City Almaty.

But Khorgos Is Also A Reminder Of China's Sharpened Stance Against The Muslim Belief That Is Dominant In Kazakhstan.

A Kazakh Journalist On A Press Trip Was Told By Kazakh Officials That She Could Not Pass The Chinese Security Check If She Saved Her Hijab She Chose To Stay Back.

On The Chinese Side, Journalists Were Prevented From Approaching A Sign Showing That Islamic Veils Are Forbidden - An Apparent Violation Of An Agreement On A Common Law Governing The Special Trade Zone.

Authorities Have Banned A Number Of Muslim Practices In Xinjiang, Including Wearing" Abnormal" Beards

Gaukhar Kurmanaliyeva Associates The Special Economic Zone At The Border With The Long Arm Of Beijing, After Her Cousin Asqar Azatbek Allegedly In December 2017 Was Taken Off By Unknown Chinese On The Kazakhstan Side.

The Kazakh Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Has Raised The Case With Beijing And Told Kurmanaliyeva That Azatbek, A Kazakh Passport Holder Born In China, Was Imprisoned For Violating Chinese Citizenship Laws.

We Don't Know Where He Is (Being Detained) Or How He Is, Kurmanaliyeva Told AFP.

In Kyrgyzstan, A Commission Formed By Relatives Of Those Gone In Xinjiang ' S Safety Flight.

Marat Tagayev, Who Joined The Commission Because Of The Fear Of Friends In China, Said The Foreign Ministry Has Reported That Most Kyrgyz People Have Left The Internment Camps.

But How Many Are Still In The Camps? Tagayev Said.

The Chinese Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Did Not Respond To Questions Regarding Security Or Detention In Xinjiang, But Said In A Statement That Belt And Road" Has Become The Most Important Line Of Cooperation Between China And Central Asian Countries."

In Pakistan, Where The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Is Held Between Xinjiang And The Port Of Gwadar, Traders Have Protested About The Detention Of Their Uyghur Women In The Chinese Region.

Ali Ibrar, A 39-year-old Trader From Northern Pakistan, Married To A Woman From Xinjiang, Has Been Involved In An Attempt To Bring Abuse There Under The Attention Of Islamabad.

Pakistan Is Not Only Silent About The Plight Of Uighur Muslims, But Is Also Helping China By Forcing People Like Me To Shut Up, He Said.