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A recently implemented government policy required local authorities to collect the passports of many citizens residing in China’s Xinjiang province.This measure, which authorities were required to implement by the end of October 2016, is likely to greatly impede the ability of many of Xinjiang’s citizens, many of whom belong to the minority Uighur community, from leaving the province and travelling abroad. Officials have stated that the recall is part of an ‘annual review’ process.

Local authorities tasked with the recollection of the passports note that whilst they have been given instructions on how to obtain the passports, they have not yet been made aware of how the passports should be returned, and no schedule for their return appears to have been publicised. Some have been instructed to ask citizens who request the return of their passport about why they want the passport to be returned. The implementation of the policy across the Xinjiang province has been inconsistent, and has been viewed as an unnecessary and disproportionate measure by onlookers.

Human Rights Watch argues that the recall lacks a legal basis, observing that Art.2 of China’s Passport Law prohibits passport recollection by police authorities except where necessary for handling a legal case.

 

The gLAWcal Team

LIBEAC project

Friday, 25 November 2016

(Source: Human Rights Watch)