LONDON: Inside details of China’s high-security prison camps, which are used to detain at least a million of Uighur Muslims in the far western region of Xinjiang, have been laid bare in a leak of classified Communist Party documents published by BBC on Sunday.
The China Cables, which were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists- a global network of investigative journalists based in Washington- show how Uighurs are locked up, indoctrinated and punished inside the detention camps. The Chinese government has consistently claimed that the detention centres in Xinjiang offer voluntary education and training.
China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, dismissed the documents as “fake news” and said the measures had safeguarded local people. He also said there had not been a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang in the last 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 fulfilment and security,” the envoy asserted.
“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,” he was quoted as saying.
The investigation has found new evidence which undermines Beijing’s claims that the detention camps, which have been built across Xinjiang in the last three years, provide voluntary re-education purposes to counter extremism to the inmates who are detained without trial.
The leaked cache includes a nine-page memo sent out in 2017 by Zhu Hailun, the 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”, with strict discipline, punishments no escapes, and make remedial Mandarin studies as a top priority.
Guards should impose pervasive, round-the-clock video surveillance to prevent escapes. Inmates were to be kept isolated from the outside world and held to a strict scoring system that could determine when they might be released. The facilities were to be shrouded in secrecy, with even employees banned from bringing in mobile phones.
The leaked documents also reveal how the Chinese government uses mass surveillance and a predictive-policing programme that analyses personal data.
It is pertinent to mention that the details come at a time when Pakistan and the British Pakistanis continue to protest over the plight of Muslims everywhere in the world but not in Xinjiang.
Refuting regular warnings from the United States over China’s CPEC projects, Pakistan still continues to sleep with an enemy that is actually engaged in the most horrendous crimes against Muslim minorities. They do not even mention this because they just want their economy to prosper with financial assistance from China. (ANI)
UK urges China to give UN observers “immediate and
unfettered access” to detention camps in Xinjiang,
where more than a million Muslim are being held without trial
Meanwhile, according to a Guardian report, the UK has urged China to give United Nations observers “immediate and unfettered access” to detention camps in Xinjiang, where more than a million people from the Uighur community and other Muslim minorities are being held without trial.
The call from the Foreign Office was in response to the China cables, a leak of classified documents from within the Communist party which appear to provide the first official confirmation that the camps were designed by Beijing as brainwashing internment centres.
The documents describe how inmates are to be cut off from their families for at least a year and held behind multiple layers of security to undergo ideological transformation. The leak prompted the Foreign Office to demand “an end to the indiscriminate and disproportionate restrictions on the cultural and religious freedoms of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.”
A spokesperson added. “The UK continues to call on China to allow UN observers immediate and unfettered access to the region.”
In Brussels, the European commission condemned the use of “political re-education camps”. In a statement the commission said it would not comment on the details of the leak, but insisted it would continue to raise the issue of human rights abuses in Xinjiang with Chinese government officials.
“We have consistently spoken out against the existence of political re-education camps, widespread surveillance and restrictions of freedom of religion or belief against Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang,” a spokeswoman said. “We as the European Union continue to expect China to uphold its international obligations and to respect human rights, including when it comes to the rights of persons belonging to minorities, especially in Xinjiang but also in Tibet, and we will continue to affirm those positions in this context in particular.”
In July, 22 countries at the UNs’ top human rights body took the unusual step of issuing an joint statement calling for China to end its arbitrary detentions and other violations against the rights of Muslims in the north-west border region of Xinjiang.
Signatories included the UK, Australia, Canada and a number of European countries. The statement urged China to allow “meaningful access” to the region independent international observers, including Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights.
Chinese authorities deny they run detention camps and say the “vocational education and training centres” are part of a focused crackdown on extremism and terrorists. However, the China cables point to the ruling party setting out a blueprint for human rights violations.
Reports of a crackdown first emerged two years ago, as hundreds of thousands of muslims in Xinjiang were rounded up into secretive, newly built and heavily guarded compounds. Xi Jinping’s government took action following a rise in terrorist attacks. In 2009, nearly 200 people, most of them Han Chinese, died during riots in the Xinjiang capital, Urumqi. Dozens more were then killed and hundreds injured over the following years.