The Chinese government has reportedly detained more than a million Muslims in reeducation camps. Human rights organizations, UN officials, and many foreign governments are urging China to stop the crackdown. They have refused to share information about the detention centers, and prevented journalists and foreign investigators from examining them. However, internal Chinese government documents leaked in late have provided important details on how officials launched and maintain the detention camps.
Outside of the camps, the eleven million Uighurs living in Xinjiang have continued to suffer from a decades-long crackdown by Chinese authorities.
China legalizes Xinjiang 're-education camps' after denying they exist
Most people in the camps have never been charged with crimes and have no legal avenues to challenge their detentions. The detainees seem to have been targeted for a variety of reasons, according to media reports, including traveling to or contacting people from any of the twenty-six countries China considers sensitive, such as Turkey and Afghanistan; attending services at mosques; and sending texts containing Quranic verses.
Often, their only crime is being Muslim, human rights groups say, adding that many Uighurs have been labeled as extremists simply for practicing their religion.
Hundreds of camps are located in Xinjiang. Some Uighurs living there refer to the region as East Turkestan and argue that it ought to be independent from China. Experts estimate that Xinjiang reeducation efforts started in and were drastically expanded in Information on what actually happens in the camps is limited, but many detainees who have since fled China describe harsh conditions. Others said they were tortured and subjected to sleep deprivation during interrogations.
Some released detainees contemplated suicide or witnessed others kill themselves. Detention also disrupts families. Children whose parents have been sent to the camps are often forced to stay in state-run orphanages. In the speeches, revealed by the New York Times in NovemberXi did not explicitly call for arbitrary detention but laid the groundwork for the crackdown in Xinjiang. Known for increasing the number of police and security checkpoints, as well as state control over Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, Chen has since dramatically intensified security in Xinjiang.
It also officially recognized the use of training centers to eliminate extremism. Though the government recognizes five religions—Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Islam, and Protestantism—it has long feared that foreigners could use religious practice to spur separatism.
The Chinese government has come to characterize any expression of Islam in Xinjiang as extremist, a reaction to past independence movements and occasional outbursts of violence. In the eyes of Beijing, all Uighurs could potentially be terrorists or terrorist sympathizers.
During the next few years, authorities blamed Uighurs for attacks at a local government office, train station, and open-air market, as well as Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Human rights organizations have observed that the economic benefits of resource extraction and development are often disproportionately enjoyed by Han Chinese, and Uighur people are increasingly marginalized. Many people who were arbitrarily detained have been forced to work in factories close to the detention camps, according to multiple reports [PDF].What does it take to intern half a million members of one ethnic group in just a year?
The Chinese authorities are cagey and evasive, if not downright dismissiveabout reports concerning such camps. But now they will have to explain away their own eloquent trail of evidence: an online public bidding system set up by the government inviting tenders from contractors to help build and run the camps. Uighurs have more in common, culturally and linguistically, with Turks than Han Chinese, and many Uighurs are Muslim. Local governments organize public ceremonies and signings asking ethnic minorities to pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party; they hold mandatory re-education courses and forced dance performancesbecause some forms of Islam forbid dance.
9 Things You Should Know About the Muslim Re-Education Camps In China
In some neighborhoods, security organs carry out regular assessments of the risk posed by residents: Uighurs get a 10 percent deduction on their score for ethnicity alone and lose another 10 percent if they pray daily. Uighurs had grown accustomed to living under an intrusive state, but measures became draconian after the arrival in late of a new regional party chief from Tibet.
Since then, some local police officers have said that they struggled to meet their new detention quotas — in the case of one village, 40 percent of the population. A new study by Adrian Zenza researcher at the European School of Culture and Theology, in Korntal, Germany, analyzed government ads inviting tenders for various contracts concerning re-education facilities in more than 40 localities across Xinjiang, offering a glimpse of the vast bureaucratic, human and financial resources the state dedicates to this detention network.
A bid invitation appears to have been posted on April 27 — a sign that more camps are being built. Local governments are also placing ads to recruit camp staff with expertise in criminal psychology or a background in the military or the police force.
Evidence of these technical details is invaluable, especially considering the growing difficulties faced by researchers and reporters trying to work in Xinjiang.
Several foreign journalists have produced important articlesdespite police harassment and brief arrests; ethnic Uighur reporters, or their families, endure far worse. Given the risks, firsthand accounts from former detainees remain rare — although a few are starting to emerge.
In February, a Uighur man studying in the United States gave Foreign Policy one of the most detailed descriptions of detention conditions published to date. He was arrested upon returning to China for a visit last year, and then held for 17 days on no known charge. He described long days of marching in a crowded cell, chanting slogans and watching propaganda videos about purportedly illegal religious activities.
He met inmates serving terms as long as seven years. And now these rare eyewitness accounts are being corroborated, if unwittingly, by the Chinese state itself, as it makes public calls for contracts to build even more detention camps. They serve as grounds for compulsory indoctrination. The camps are also tools of punishment, and of course, a threat.
Few detainees are formally charged, much less sentenced. Some are told how long a term they will serve; others are simply held indefinitely. This uncertainty — the arbitrary logic of detention — instills fear in the entire population.
Surveillance was markedly heightened during my last trip to Xinjiang in December — so much so that I avoided talking to Uighurs then for fear that just being in contact with a foreigner would get them sent away for re-education. Not anymore. Tens of thousands of families have been torn apart; an entire culture is being criminalized. Labeling with a single word the deliberate and large-scale mistreatment of an ethnic group is tricky: Old terms often camouflage the specifics of new injustices.
And drawing comparisons between the suffering of different groups is inherently fraught, potentially reductionist. There is every reason to fear that the situation will only worsen.
Home Page World U.A Wall Street Journal investigation reveals what goes on inside China's growing network of internment camps. One woman, who was held for more than a year, has told French television that she was repeatedly injected with a substance by doctors in a prison in the far-west region of Xinjiang. Speaking to an Amnesty International conference recently, another woman, Mehrigul Tursun, 30, told a similar story of being unknowingly sterilised.
After several months she was released, having been diagnosed as mentally ill, and now lived in the United States. Doctors there later told her that she had been sterilised. China has detained at least one million Uyghur Muslims across its vast network of prison camps. An estimated one million Uyghurs are held in prison camps across the country.
Members of the Falun Gong religious movement have also been detained in large numbers. In the past, Uyghur women who were detained in camps and now live in western nations have told of being forced to abort babies — including late in the term of pregnancies. Uyghur women grieve for their men who were taken away by Chinese authorities in a crackdown on the Muslim minority group. Source:News Limited. The Population Research Institute, which advocates for a born on intrusive and inhumane population control programs, accused China of forced sterilisation on a large scale.
Members of the Falun Gong religious movement, pictured here at a protest, have also been imprisoned in large numbers. China said those arrested — who have faced no charges or convictions — pose a risk of future extremism.
For several years, human rights groups have expressed concern that many of the estimated 1. In June, the specially formed China Tribunal in London declared there was no doubt that state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting was occurring on a massive scale.
China says its camps are like boarding schools where participants are taught culture, language and social values. Made up of members from the United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia and Iran, including experts in human rights, transplant surgery and international relations, the independent tribunal heard from 50 witnesses and examined an enormous volume of visual and text evidence over the past year.
Log in No account? Sign up Log out news. Shannon Molloy. Video Image Life inside China's 're-education' camps. Share on Facebook. China strips virus research from internet.Amnesty International has interviewed more than people outside of China whose relatives in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region XUAR are still missing, as well as individuals who said they were tortured while in detention camps there.
Travel abroad for work or education, particularly to majority Muslim countries, or contact with people outside China are also major reasons for suspicion. Male, female; young, old; urban, rural, all are at risk of being detained.
Individuals might come under suspicion through routine monitoring of messages sent on social media apps like WeChat, which does not use end-to-end encryption. Use of alternative messaging apps with encryption, such as WhatsApp, can also be a cause for detention. Those sent to such camps are not put on trial, have no access to lawyers or right to challenge the decision.
Kairat Samarkan was sent to a detention camp in Octoberafter he returned to the XUAR following a short visit to neighbouring Kazakhstan.
Kairat told Amnesty that he was hooded, made to wear shackles on his arms and legs and was forced to stand in a fixed position for 12 hours when first detained.
There were nearly 6, people held in the same camp, where they were forced to sing political songs and study speeches of the Chinese Communist Party. Kairat told Amnesty that his treatment drove him to attempt suicide just before his release. Those who resist or fail to show enough progress face punishments ranging from verbal abuse to food deprivation, solitary confinement, beatings and use of restraints and stress positions.
There have been reports of deaths inside the facilities, including suicides of those unable to bear the mistreatment. While states do have the right and responsibility to prevent violent attacks, the measures deployed must be necessary and proportionate and as narrow and targeted as possible to address a specific threat. There is no plausible justification for mass detentions of members of a particular ethnic group or religion of the type witnessed in the XUAR.
For months, relatives of the missing kept their anguish to themselves. They hoped the loss of contact with loved ones back home would be temporary. Now, with no clear end in sight for their torment, more and more are willing to speak up. Her relatives in the XUAR were so afraid that further contact might put them under suspicion that they stopped communicating with her after that. We were a happy family before he was detained.
We laughed together. We live in fear every day. It has done great harm to my mother.Updated January 08, A Uyghur woman has detailed conditions she says were tantamount to torture inside one of China's "re-education camps" in far western Xinjiang province.
The UN has cited estimates that up to 1 million ethnic Muslim-minority Uyghurs may be held involuntarily in extralegal detention in Xinjiang. China's Government says the camps are vocational training centres providing language training and re-education of extremists. Gulbahar Jelilova, who says she spent 15 months inside one of the camps, has given a rare firsthand account of the conditions.
Ms Jelilova, who is originally from Kazakhstan, has spent the last two decades doing business on the Chinese-Kazakhstani border. We didn't have any rights to make phone calls outside … we were like dead people. Most Uyghurs who have been inside the camps won't speak about their experiences because of fears other family members will be detained in retaliation.
Despite Ms Jelilova's concerns that Chinese police are keeping tabs on her in Turkey where she currently lives, she said she felt compelled to speak out on behalf of other young women currently in detention. Under those circumstances how can I keep quiet? Ms Jelilova's accounts contradict the Chinese Government but they do match up with reports of other Uyghurs and human rights groups. She said she was beaten inside the camp and when she first entered she weighed 76 kilograms but within a month had lost more than 20 kilograms.
Ms Jelilova said she was let out of the camp following a sustained lobbying effort by her family. China has said Xinjiang faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists who plot attacks and stir up tensions between the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.
First posted January 08, Contact Flint Duxfield. If you have inside knowledge of a topic in the news, contact the ABC. ABC teams share the story behind the story and insights into the making of digital, TV and radio content. Read about our editorial guiding principles and the standards ABC journalists and content makers follow. Learn more. It's the question everyone wants to know: can you get coronavirus from farts?
Dr Norman Swan has a strong opinion and asks Australians to make yet another sacrifice. An entire news quiz without a mention of the word "coronavirus"? You'll have to take the test to believe it. By music and pop culture reporter Paul Donoughue. Are we all desperate to recall a simpler, more innocent, pre-pandemic time, when the future looked rosy and we stood physically close to other people?
Photo: China says the 're-education' camps provide vocational training. Reuters: Thomas Peter. Related Story: 'Absolutely massive': China's secret detention camps seen from space. Related Story: US company selling clothes made in Chinese 'concentration camps'.Sayragul Sauytbay, 43, said she witnessed the human rights abuses during her time in a facility between November and Marchwhere she was forced to teach Chinese and Communist Party propaganda to fellow detainees, before she was released and granted asylum in Sweden.
She told Haaretz she witnessed detainees being tortured by electric shock, with metal nails, and by having their fingernails pulled out. Detainees were deprived of food, forcibly given pills and injected with unknown substances.
However, she estimates it held about 2, inmates ranging in age from 13 to 84, with a mixture of businessmen, writers, nurses and doctors, artists, schoolchildren, and workers. Her testimony corroborates with previous interviews The Epoch Times conducted with former Uyghur detainees, who said they were subject to torture, forced to denounce their faith, and forced to pledge loyalty to the CCP while held for unknown reasons in often overcrowded facilities.
CCP officials say the mass detentions among the Uyghur population, the majority of whom practice Islam, are part of measures to crack down on terrorism, religious extremism, and separatism in the country. Uyghurs in the region are being detained for reasons such as contacting friends or relatives abroad, traveling to a foreign country, growing beards, and attending religious gatherings, Uyghurs who have family members in the camps told The Epoch Times.
First-hand accounts described to The Epoch Times have also revealed attempts by authorities to strip Uyghur detainees of their culture and language, forcing them to denounce their faith and pledge loyalty to the CCP and its leader.
If detainees fail to follow orders, they may be subject to several forms of torture as punishment. She said she knew of an elderly woman in the camp, who had been a shepherd before she was arrested by Xinjiang authorities for speaking to someone on the phone who lived abroad. In response, she was immediately punished. I saw her when she returned. She was covered with blood, she had no fingernails, and her skin was flayed. I saw people return from that room covered in blood.
Some came back without fingernails. Sauytbay recalled a time when she was punished herself, after an elderly Kazakh detainee begged her for help. I did not reciprocate her embrace, but I was punished anyway. I was beaten and deprived of food for two days. Up to 20 detainees were forced to stay in a single room of 16 square meters, and each inmate was only given two minutes a day to use the toilet, she said.
Each room had a plastic bucket for a toilet … and the bucket was emptied only once a day. If it filled up, you had to wait until the next day. Their hands and feet were shackled all day, except when they had to write. Even in sleep they were shackled, and they were required to sleep on their right side—anyone who turned over was punished. She said a female detainee was told to confess her sins in front of inmates, and say she had become a better person now that she had learned Chinese.
It was awful. I will never forget the feeling of helplessness, of not being able to help her. After that happened, it was hard for me to sleep at night. A year-old former Uyghur detainee, Gulbakhar Jalilova, a Kazakhstan national, told The Epoch Times that young Uyghur women are being raped daily by CCP officials in the camps and could be killed if they resist. Sauytbay said she was released in Marchand fled to Sweden with her husband and two children.
More than a year on, however, she said she will forever be haunted by the horrors she witnessed in the camp. They are innocent. The world must find a solution so that my people can live in peace. Facebook Tweet LinkedIn Email. The outer wall of a complex which includes what is believed to be a re-education camp on the outskirts of Hotan, in China's northwestern Xinjiang region on May 31, China Human Rights.
By Isabel van Brugen. October 24, Updated: October 24, They could take whoever they wanted.Hong Kong CNN China has fiercely defended an escalating crackdown in the far western province of Xinjiang as necessary for security, claiming inmates of "re-education camps" are happier following their imprisonment.
Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. This photo taken on February 27, shows Chinese police attending an anti-terrorist oath-taking rally in Hetian, in China's Xinjiang region.
International outrage has been growing over reports the Chinese government has forced as many as one million people into "re-education camps," where former detainees say they were forced to endure intensive "brain washing" sessions including close study of Communist Party propaganda.
In the most vocal defense yet of the mass internment of the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority group, Shohrat Zakir, a high-ranking Xinjiang government official, told state media the Chinese government was fighting "terrorism and extremism" in its own way, and in accordance with United Nations resolutions.
No matter where they are or at what time of the day, people are no longer afraid of going out, shopping, dining and traveling," he told state-run news agency Xinhua, Tuesday. China's paranoia and oppression in Xinjiang has a long history. The camps are part of Chinese government efforts to combat what it says is a rising tide of extremism in the far-western province of Xinjiang. The majority of the province's population were until recently Uyghurs rather than Han Chinese.
Shohrat Zakir's interview came as Nikki Haley, Washington's ambassador to the UN, denounced the situation in the region as "straight out of George Orwell. Speaking to a meeting of defense ministers in Washington Monday, Haley said Beijing was engaged in "the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities.
They're busy creating the very radicalism they claim to be tamping down," she said. Protesters burn a Chinese flag during a demonstration to denounce China's treatment of Uyghurs in front of the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, on July 5, Xinjiang quietly legalized "vocational skill education training centers" on October 10, which the law said would be used to "carry out anti-extremist ideological education.
That move came less than two months after a Chinese government spokesman completely denied the existence of re-education camps during a UN hearing on human rights. United States 'deeply troubled' by alleged Chinese crackdown in Xinjiang. Speaking to Xinhua Tuesday, Shohrat Zakir didn't deny the existence of the camps, instead saying former detainees had been transformed for the better by their time inside.
The Xinjiang official added that while "trainees" had acted according to religion or family before their internment, they "now realized that they are firstly citizens of the nation. State-run tabloid Global Times joined the media blitz Monday, publishing a fierce editorial which blamed Western "media and politicians" for setting off a wave of "anti-China rhetoric.
They would rather sacrifice stability in Xinjiang and the lives of hundreds of thousands for a single geopolitical victory over China," the editorial said.
Hu Xijin, the paper's editor and a vocal defender of the Chinese government, claimed on Twitter that he knew the number of people in the re-education camps. All I can say is that it is much fewer than '1 million or so' speculated by the outside world," he said. Hu claimed the government wasn't releasing the figure to avoid "giving Western media another excuse to hype up the issue. As part of the Chinese government's media blitz around the Xinjiang camps, state broadcaster CCTV released a documentary on Tuesday night giving viewers a rare view inside the re-education centers.