The party’s goal, experts say, is to reinforce its control in Xinjiang by remaking the long recalcitrant region in its own image, and to secure it as a hub for President Xi Jinping’s global development ambitions.

When plans for Urumqi’s urban overhaul were announced in 2017, the party-controlled Xinjiang Daily said the government would offer compensation to residents forced to move, and planned new residential districts “designed with full consideration of the customs and convenience of all ethnic groups.” The Urumqi and Xinjiang governments didn’t respond to requests for comment about the urban overhaul…

To realize its “deradicalization” goals, authorities have detained what United Nations experts say have been as many as a million Muslims in a network of internment camps—and subjected the rest to mass digital surveillance. Chinese leaders characterize the camps as vocational training centers, promoting them as an innovation in the global war on terror and disputing the one-million figure.

“We can’t have a culture anymore,” said a Uighur resident of Urumqi who works at a state-owned resources company. He said he stopped visiting his local mosque after officials came to his house to confiscate his Quran. “No one goes any more. It’s too dangerous,” he said.