WASHINGTON DC: Detailed locations of as many as 15 detention camps for Uyghurs have been unearthed in Turpan city of the northwest Chinese province of Xinjiang, the region where several scenes of Disney's new film 'Mulan' were filmed, according to a Washington-based Uyghur group.
This is a significant development as Disney has come under fire for shooting in Xinjiang province, the region where Chinese government is accused of carrying out a brutal campaign of repression against Uyghur Muslims.
The movie, slated for release across China on September 11, garnered controversy after Disney thanked Turpan Public Security Bureau and the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China's "Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region" Committee in the film credits, which are Chinese government entities directly involved in mass internment of Uyghurs and others, said the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM).
Mulan's lead actor, Liu Yifei, has also been criticised for backing the Hong Kong Police crackdown on pro-democracy protestors.
ETNAM had publicly released the coordinates of 182 concentration camps, 209 prisons and 74 Bingtuan (Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps) labour camps across East Turkistan in November last year. The group has now shared the exact locations of 10 concentration camps and five prisons located nearly 130 kilometres radius of Turpan region.
It said there were five concentration camps and two prisons operating in Turpan City alone. In Pichan County of Turpan, four concentration camps and two prisons are present while one concentration camp and one prison are present in Toqsun County of Turpan.
These facilities have been operating since 2017 and many of the concentration camps have been expanded in 2018. According to testimonies of former detainees in concentration camps and prisons and their size, these facilities easily hold more than 100,000 people, mostly Uyghurs, according to ETNAM.
Salih Hudayar, the group's founder and president said, "By filming the movie in Turpan, East Turkistan, where there are possibly hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs being detained in concentration camps and prisons, Disney is not only helping promote Chinese government propaganda but it is also helping the CCP whitewash the genocide faced by Uyghurs and demonising the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan as 'barbarians' and as enemies of China and the Chinese people."
Last December, China had claimed that everyone in the so-called "re-education" concentration camps across Xinjiang had "graduated". However, these concentration camps and prisons are still operating based on the satellite image seen from March to July this year.
ETNAM has called on the people all over the world to boycott 'Mulan' and asked Disney to cancel its screenings of the movie as soon as possible. The group has also demanded a formal apology to the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan.
China has been criticised globally for cracking down on the Uyghurs by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forceful re-education or indoctrination.