High security, no escapes: Data leak provides a glimpse into China's detention camps

The Chinese government has consistently claimed that the detention centres in Xinjiang offer voluntary education and training.

Published: 25th November 2019 01:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th November 2019 01:17 PM   |  A+A-


Ethnic Uighurs protest Chinese security crackdown (Photo | File/AP)


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.

This comes 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. 

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp