World News

Concentration Camps in China

The Xinjiang re-education camps, officially Vocational Education and Training Centers were started by the Chinese government in 2017. They are reportedly holding hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs in these camps as well as other ethnic minority groups, for the stated purpose of countering extremism and terrorism and promoting sinicization (it is a process whereby non-Chinese societies come under the influence of Chinese culture).Image result for concentration camps in china

Recently The leak was made to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which has worked with 17 media partners, including BBC Panorama and The Guardian newspaper in the UK. China’s UK ambassador dismissed the documents as fake news. 

The investigation has found new evidence that undermines Beijing’s claim that the detention camps, About a million people mostly from the Muslim Uighur community are thought to have been detained without trial.

The leaked Chinese government documents, which the ICIJ have labelled “The China Cables”, include a nine-page memo sent out in 2017 by Zhu Hailun, then deputy-secretary of Xinjiang’s Communist Party and the region’s top security official, to those who run the camps.

The instructions make it clear that the camps should be run as high-security prisons, 

Image result for concentration camps in china with strict discipline, punishments, and no escapes.

The memo includes orders to:

  • “Never allow escapes”
  • “Increase discipline and punishment of behavioral violations”
  • “Promote repentance and confession”
  • “Make remedial Mandarin studies the top priority”
  • “Encourage students to truly transform”
  • “[Ensure] full video surveillance coverage of dormitories and classrooms free of blind spots”

The documents show how every aspect of a detainee’s life is monitored and controlled: “The students should have a fixed bed position, fixed queue position, fixed classroom seat, and fixed station during skills work, and it is strictly forbidden for this to be changed

Other documents confirm the extraordinary scale of the detentions. One reveals that 15,000 people from southern Xinjiang were sent to the camps over the course of just one week in 2017. 

The memo details how detainees will only be released when they are confirmed they have transformed their behavior, beliefs and language. 

“Promote the repentance and confession of the students for them to understand deeply the illegal, criminal and dangerous nature of their past activity,” it says.

“For those who harbor vague understandings, negative attitudes or even feelings of resistance… carry out education transformation to ensure that results are achieved.”

Ben Emmerson QC, a leading human rights lawyer and an adviser to the World Uighur Congress, said the camps were trying to change people’s identity.

“It is very difficult to view that as anything other than a mass brainwashing scheme designed and directed at an entire ethnic community.

“It’s a total transformation that is designed specifically to wipe the Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang as a separate cultural group off the face of the Earth.

Detainees are awarded points for their “ideological transformation, study and training, and compliance with discipline”, the memo says. The punishment-and-reward system helps determine whether inmates are allowed contact with family and when they are released. They are only considered for release once four Communist Party committees are sure that they have been transformed.The leaked documents also reveal how the Chinese government uses mass surveillance and a predictive-policing programme that analyses personal data.

When this information leaked to the public, they started to criticise these concentration camps to which china said what’s the problem?

Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming said that by doing this they had safeguarded local people and there had not been a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang in the past three years. 

“The region now enjoys social stability and unity among ethnic groups. People there are living a happy life with a much stronger sense of fulfillment and security.

“In total disregard of the facts, some people in the West have been fiercely slandering and smearing China over Xinjiang in an attempt to create an excuse to interfere in China’s internal affairs, disrupt China’s counter-terrorism efforts in Xinjiang and thwart China’s steady development.”

 These camps are still holding hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and we don’t when they will be released.


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