The authorities in Xinjiang are stepping up efforts to promote Mandarin-language education and to sinicise Islam despite the growing international outcry over its policies in the far Western region. International fashion chains that have said they will stop using cotton produced in the region due to concerns about forced labour this week faced calls for a consumer boycott from Chinese consumers and celebrities . Xinjiang Daily reported on Thursday that the regional government had called an extended conference for local officials following a visit by one of the most senior figures in the central government. During his trip, Wang Yang, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, ordered Xinjiang party officials to “optimise” governance to achieve long-term stability. China seeks Turkish support for its policies on Xinjiang Wang, the head of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, is currently China’s fourth-highest ranked politician and oversees the party’s policies in Xinjiang and national policies on ethnic and religious affairs. Praising the “consolidation” of regional efforts to counter terrorism and alleviate poverty, Wang told officials to work to sinicise religion and to guide Islam to be more compatible with Chinese socialist values. At this week’s regional conference, cadres were told to stay vigilant even though counterterrorism work had become a “normal part of everyday life” and the social governance model, Xinjiang Daily reported. The report also said the region’s party chief Chen Quanguo had ordered more academic research into the history and unity of China’s pluralistic society and more efforts to promote the use of Mandarin in schools. He also told officials that strengthening the management of religious affairs would remain a top priority and called for further efforts to make Islam compatible with Chinese socialist values. This week the European Union agreed to blacklist four Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in Xinjiang , the first EU sanctions against Beijing since it imposed an arms embargo in 1989 following the bloody crackdown in Tiananmen Square. China claims Xinjiang conspiracy hidden in three-year-old US video Chen was not included in the EU’s sanctions, but he has already been targeted by the United States. Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the previous administration was right to say China was carrying out a “genocide” against mainly Muslim Uygurs in the region. Last year efforts to promote the use of Mandarin rather than Mongolian in schools in Inner Mongolia prompted large-scale street protests by locals who feared their native language would be extinguished as part of a nationwide drive to assimilate people from ethnic minorities into the majority Han culture.