China’s Secret Re-education Camps
According to recent reports, Detainment camps located in the western region of
Satellite imagery of the area over the Xinjiang region revealed that about 28 separate detention camps which is apparently part of a huge Chinese government program aimed at maintaining a better control of the sizeable Muslim population in the area is continuously undergoing expansion.
Based on details of the satellite imagery, which was accessed this week, it was revealed that over 400 percent growth has been recorded in the cam area since 2016 of which most of the expansion occurred this year. According to the research by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which conducts research for the Australian military, Investigation conducted by ABC News using the institute’s research facility disclosed that the expansion of the camps coincides with intensified criticism of the indoctrination centers by former detainees and their relatives and according to an International media, reports have also stepped up coverage of the issue.
According to Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch China Director, the images and report are significant addition to the increasing body of evidence about the suppression campaign against Muslims. It has contributed to critical new facts showing that the Chinese government is carrying out a massive human rights violation in the Xinjiang zone. “It is a critical link between showing the physical infrastructure and connecting it to the abuses taking place inside these facilities” Richardson told Fox News.
According to Richardson, the Chinese government considers the distinct religion, language, culture, education and traditional practices of this community as a political threat. The satellite imagery shows prison-like facilities, complete with high fencing and watchtowers which was described as punitive in nature and more similar to prison camps rather than “transformation through education centres” as the Chinese authorities call it.
Xinjiang is the habitation of an estimated 14 million Chinese citizens, most of which are members of Muslim ethnic groups. Tensions have flared between the Chinese government and the Uighurs, one of China’s most prominent minority groups, who seek to establish greater autonomy. The Chinese government are silent on the number of detainees in the camps. Based on reports, the estimated numbers are in the hundreds of thousands, while some fear that the number of detainees could be in millions. Some relatives of those being held, who can speak freely outside China, say detainees have died in the camps, or shortly after they were let out.
Reacting to the current situation, Chinese officials have countered speculations of a mass detention system with the aim of suppression, rather they have described the camps as vocational schools that would help control violence in the area. A Foreign Ministry spokesman has maintained silence on the report about the expansion of the camps. The exposure of these images are coming at a time when the United Nations panel is scheduled to discuss China’s human rights record in Geneva which is slated for next week. Even before the report of the satellite images, the subject matter of the camps have experienced intensified publicity as discussions have spread in international circles.
Reports by Wall Street Journal, says that British diplomats have confirmed reports about the camps as to be accurate after visiting the Xinjiang area in August. “The Chinese state has changed the facts on ground in Xinjiang so dramatically that it has allowed little time for other countries to meaningfully react,” said the institute report.
According to the journal, a lot of analysis have been carried out on the satellite images by researchers, as well as examination of construction-tender documents and information from officials, activists and others.