Xinjiang internment camps

Xinjiang internment camps
Indoctrination camps, labor camps
Detainees listening to speeches in a camp in Lop County, Xinjiang, April 2017
Other names
  • Vocational Education and Training Centers
  • Xinjiang re-education camps
LocationXinjiang, China
Built byChinese Communist Party
Government of China
Operated byXinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional People's Government and the Party Committee
Number of inmatesUp to 1.8 million (2020 Zenz estimate)[2]

1 million – 3 million over a period of several years (2019 Schriver estimate)[3][4]

Plus ~497,000 minors in special boarding schools (2017 government document estimate)[5]
Xinjiang internment camps
Uyghur name
Uyghurقايتا تەربىيەلەش لاگېرلىرى
Xinjiang re-education camps
Simplified Chinese再教育
Traditional Chinese再教育[6]
Vocational Education and Training Centers
Simplified Chinese职业技能教育培训中心
Traditional Chinese職業技能教育培訓中心
Literal meaningVocational Skill(s) Education-Training Center(s)

The Xinjiang internment camps,[note 1] officially called vocational education and training centers (Chinese: 职业技能教育培训中心) by the government of China,[12][13][14][15] are internment camps operated by the government of Xinjiang and the Chinese Communist Party Provincial Standing Committee. Human Rights Watch says that they have been used to indoctrinate Uyghurs and other Muslims since 2017 as part of a "people's war on terror", a policy announced in 2014.[1][16][17] The camps have been criticized by the governments of many countries and human rights organizations for alleged human rights abuses, including mistreatment, rape, and torture, with some of them alleging genocide.[18] Some 40 countries around the world have called on China to respect the human rights of the Uyghur community,[19] including countries such as Canada, Germany, Turkey and Japan. The governments of more than 35 countries have expressed support for China's government.[20][21][22] Xinjiang internment camps have been described as "the most extreme example of China's inhumane policies against Uighurs".[11]

The camps were established in 2017 by the administration of CCP general secretary Xi Jinping.[17] Between 2017 and 2021 operations were led by Chen Quanguo, who was formerly a CCP Politburo member and the committee secretary who led the region's party committee and government.[23][24] The camps are reportedly operated outside the Chinese legal system; many Uyghurs have reportedly been interned without trial and no charges have been levied against them (held in administrative detention).[25][26][27] Local authorities are reportedly holding hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs in these camps as well as members of other ethnic minority groups in China, for the stated purpose of countering extremism and terrorism[28][29] and promoting social integration.[30][31][32]

The internment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in the camps constitutes the largest-scale arbitrary detention of ethnic and religious minorities since World War II.[33][11][34][35] As of 2020, it was estimated that Chinese authorities may have detained up to 1.8 million people, mostly Uyghurs but also including Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other ethnic Turkic Muslims, Christians, as well as some foreign citizens including Kazakhstanis, in these secretive internment camps located throughout the region.[36][2] According to Adrian Zenz, a major researcher on the camps, the mass internments peaked in 2018 and abated somewhat since then, with officials shifting focus towards forced labor programs.[37] Other human rights activists and US officials have also noted a shifting of individuals from the camps into the formal penal system.[38]

In May 2018, Randall Schriver, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, said that "at least a million but likely closer to three million citizens" were imprisoned in detention centers, which he described as "concentration camps".[3][4] In August 2018, Gay McDougall, a US representative at the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, said that the committee had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uyghurs in China have been held in "re-education camps".[39][40] There have been comparisons between the Xinjiang camps and the Chinese Cultural Revolution.[41][42][43][44][45]

In 2019, at the United Nations, 54 countries, including China itself, rejected the allegations and supported the Chinese government's policies in Xinjiang.[46] In another letter, 23 countries shared the concerns in the committee's reports and called on China to uphold human rights.[47][48] In September 2020, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) reported in its Xinjiang Data Project that construction of camps continued despite government claims that their function was winding down.[49] In October 2020, it was reported that the total number of countries that denounced China increased to 39, while the total number of countries that defended China decreased to 45. Sixteen countries that defended China in 2019 did not do so in 2020.[50]

The Xinjiang Zhongtai Group is running some of the reeducation camps and uses reallocated workers in their facilities.[51]

  1. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference auto1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b Zenz, Adrian (1 July 2020). "China's Own Documents Show Potentially Genocidal Sterilization Plans in Xinjiang". Foreign Policy.
  3. ^ a b Stewart, Phil (4 May 2019). "China putting minority Muslims in 'concentration camps,' U.S. says". Reuters. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  4. ^ a b Rappeport, Alan; Wong, Edward (4 May 2018). "In Push for Trade Deal, Trump Administration Shelves Sanctions Over China's Crackdown on Uighurs". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  5. ^ Qin, Amy (28 December 2019). "In China's Crackdown on Muslims, Children Have Not Been Spared". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  6. ^ Tung, Li-Wen(董立文) (October 2018). 「再教育營」再現中共新疆 工作的矛盾 [The Reprise of the Contradiction of CCP's Work in Xinjiang Due to "Re-education Camps"] (PDF). 發展與探索 Prospect & Exploration (in Chinese (Taiwan)). 16 (10). Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  7. ^ Smith Finley, Joanne (2019). "Securitization, insecurity and conflict in contemporary Xinjiang: has PRC counter-terrorism evolved into state terror?". Central Asian Survey. 38 (1): 1–26. doi:10.1080/02634937.2019.1586348. ISSN 0263-4937.
  8. ^ Cirilli, Kevin (7 September 2020). "U.S. Bars Some China Xinjiang Firms on Alleged Abuse; Plans More". Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  9. ^ Diamond, Rayhan; Asat, Yonah (15 July 2020). "The World's Most Technologically Sophisticated Genocide Is Happening in Xinjiang". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  10. ^ "Why Is This Happening? Uncovering China's secret internment camps with Rian Thum". NBC News. 24 April 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  11. ^ a b c Kirby, Jen (28 July 2020). "Concentration camps and forced labor: China's repression of the Uighurs, explained". Vox. Retrieved 26 August 2021. It is the largest mass internment of an ethnic-religious minority group since World War II.
  12. ^ 中华人民共和国 国务院新闻办公室 (18 March 2019). "Xinjiang de fankong, qu jiduanhua douzheng yu renquan baozhang" 新疆的反恐、去极端化斗争与人权保障 (in Chinese). Xinhua. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu qu jiduanhua tiaoli" 新疆维吾尔自治区去极端化条例. Xinjiang People's Congress Standing Committee. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Full Text: Vocational Education and Training in Xinjiang". Xinhua. Beijing. 16 August 2019. Archived from the original on 16 August 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  15. ^ Gao, Charlotte (8 November 2018). "Xinjiang Detention Camp or Vocational Center: Is China 'Calling A Deer A Horse'?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
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  17. ^ a b Ramzy, Austin; Buckley, Chris (16 November 2019). "'Absolutely No Mercy': Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  18. ^ "Statement by the Subcommittee on International Human Rights concerning the human rights situation of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, China". SDIR Committee News Release (Press release). Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. 21 October 2020. Archived from the original on 24 October 2020. Retrieved 23 October 2020. The Subcommittee heard that the Government of China has been employing various strategies to persecute Muslim groups living in Xinjiang, including mass detentions, forced labour, pervasive state surveillance and population control. Witnesses clearly stated that the Government of China's actions constitute a clear attempt to eradicate Uyghur culture and religion. Some witnesses also stated that the Government of China's actions meet the definition of genocide as it is set out in Article II of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention).
  19. ^ Afp (22 October 2021). "43 countries call on China at UN to respect Uighur rights". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
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  21. ^ Cumming-Bruce, Nick (13 July 2019). "More than 35 countries defend China over mass detention of Uighur Muslims in UN letter". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  22. ^ Miles, Tom (12 July 2019). "Saudi Arabia and Russia among 37 states backing China's Xinjiang policy". Reuters. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  23. ^ "Before leaving office, Mike Pompeo accused China of genocide". The Economist. 23 January 2021. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  24. ^ Wang, Amber (15 June 2022). "US-sanctioned hardline Xinjiang chief moves to rural affairs role". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  25. ^ "Arrests skyrocketed in China's Muslim far west in 2017". France24. AFP. 25 July 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  26. ^ "'Permanent cure': Inside the re-education camps China is using to brainwash Muslims". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  27. ^ "China: Big Data Fuels Crackdown in Minority Region". Human Rights Watch. 26 February 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  28. ^ "China detains thousands of Muslims in re-education camps". Union of Catholic Asian News. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  29. ^ Michael, Clarke (25 May 2018). "Xinjiang's "transformation through education" camps". The Interpreter. Lowy Institute. Archived from the original on 3 December 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  30. ^ "Why are Muslim Uyghurs being sent to 're-education' camps". Al Jazeera. 8 June 2018. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
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  32. ^ Thum, Rian; Harris, Rachel; Leibold, James; Batke, Jessica; Carrico, Kevin; Roberts, Sean R. (4 June 2018). "How Should the World Respond to Intensifying Repression in Xinjiang?". ChinaFile. Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  33. ^ Finley, Joanne (2020). "Why Scholars and Activists Increasingly Fear a Uyghur Genocide in Xinjiang". Journal of Genocide Research. 23 (3): 348–370. doi:10.1080/14623528.2020.1848109. S2CID 236962241.
  34. ^ Rajagopalan, Megha; Killing, Alison; Buschek, Christo (27 August 2020). "China Secretly Built A Vast New Infrastructure To Imprison Muslims". Buzzfeed News. China has established a sprawling system to detain and incarcerate hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities, in what is already the largest-scale detention of ethnic and religious minorities since World War II.
  35. ^ Niewenhuis, Lucas (24 September 2020). "380 detention camps identified in Xinjiang, showing continued mass incarceration". SupChina.
  36. ^ Nebehay, Stephanie (14 March 2019). "1.5 million Muslims could be detained in China's Xinjiang: academic". Reuters. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  37. ^ Zenz, Adrian (16 May 2023). "How Beijing Forces Uyghurs to Pick Cotton". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 17 May 2023.
  38. ^ Willemyns, Alex (19 September 2023). "Uyghur event in NY goes ahead despite Beijing's warning". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
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  44. ^ Puddington, Arch (8 May 2019). "Beijing's Persecution of the Uyghurs is a Modern Take on an Old Theme". The Diplomat. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  45. ^ Enos, Olivia (7 June 2019). "Responding to the Crisis in Xinjiang" (PDF). The Heritage Foundation.
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  47. ^ Cite error: The named reference United States Mission to the United Nations-2019 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  48. ^ "The "22 vs. 50" Diplomatic Split Between the West and China Over Xinjiang and Human Rights". Jamestown. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
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  50. ^ Basu, Zachary (8 October 2020). "More countries join condemnation of China over Xinjiang abuses". Axios. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  51. ^ Tailoring Responsibility: Tracing Apparel Supply Chains from the Uyghur Region to Europe (PDF). Uyghur Rights Monitor, the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University, and the Uyghur Center for Democracy and Human Rights. December 2023. pp. 18–19.

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