On February 1, 2018, China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) revealed a stunning 92.8 percent increase in its domestic security spending: from 30.05 billion RMB in 2016 to 57.95 billion RMB in 2017 (Xinjiang Net, 3 February). Within a decade, this figure has increased nearly ten-fold, up from 5.45 billion RMB in 2007.
This most recent increase is arguably a direct result of the extreme securitization measures implemented by the region’s Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, who unleashed unprecedented police recruitment and police station construction drives (China Brief, 14 March 2017; China Brief, 21 September 2017). However, what is the context of these seemingly staggering figures? How does Xinjiang’s domestic security spending compare to per capita counts in other provinces, to China’s national average, or to other nations? Do XUAR spending increases reflect the built-up of a massive police state, or are they merely reflective of a necessary process of catching up, since China in general and its west in particular featured an under-resourced security apparatus in the early 2000s (China Policy Institute Analysis, February 14 2018)?[source]