Ethnic Uyghurs in China’s troubled Xinjiang region are facing increasing travel restrictions despite a policy introduced last month aimed at simplifying procedures for citizens to apply for passports, sources say.
The new policy allows applicants to submit their passport applications at “one-stop” government processing centers, usually police stations, instead of having to obtain approval stamps at as many as 18 separate locations.
But the mostly Muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) complain that the new policy is intended to benefit only the majority Han Chinese and discriminates against them, according to sources.
They say they find it difficult to use the new system because the one-stop government-run processing centers have not yet opened in Uyghur-majority areas of Xinjiang such as Ghulja, Aksu, Hotan, or Kashgar, sources say.
Because of this, Uyghurs often turn to privately run centers, which sometimes demand bribes, to process their applications….(…)