1,000,000 Muslim people now in prison camps in Chinese western Xinjiang region
The Chinese Government has rounded-up an estimated 1 million Muslim people and sent them to “concentration camps” in China’s western Xinjiang region, according to reports.
Human rights campaigners report that, so far, 1,000,000 Muslims have to sent to prison camps for “re-education” with detainees being forced into the centers to try to bring them into line with the Communist Party’s way of thinking.
The Chinese Government, however, denies these claims, instead insisting that people are willingly attending special training centers designed to combat religious extremism, which it claims, are more like “schools” than prison camps.
Human rights groups are accusing the government of covering up the situation with propaganda, saying people are being rounded up by the military and taken away with force to be imprisoned without trial.
According to Metro, Sophie Richardson, director of Human Rights Watch China, said the government’s statement and accompanying footage from inside the “schools” was “ludicrous propaganda.”
“We documented torture, we documented ill-treatment,’ she said.
The BBC has published a report on the secret mass detention of the hundreds of thousands of minority Muslims, using satellite images to expose dozens of the suspected prison camps.
Set up in former schools, the camps house accommodation blocks, and watchtowers.
Relatives are seen queuing up to visit those inside.
China calls the old schools “vocational training centers” saying they have been set up to combat the spread of extremism.
A new camp was seen in the BBC’s satellite pictures surrounded by 16 watchtowers.
When reporters went to explore by car, they found it was being built upon on a huge scale, with a number of cranes visible.
They were quickly told to leave.
“It’s like a city,” BBC reporter John Sudworth says.
“If this really is all about education then why the effort to stop us getting close?”
China has characterized its mass internment of Muslims as a push to bring into the “modern, civilized” world a “destitute people” who are “easily led astray” – a depiction that analysts said bore troubling colonial overtones.
The ruling Communist Party released a report on Tuesday last week to defend the detention of Central Asian Muslim minorities – including Uighur and Kazakh Muslims – without trial.
According to estimates made by the UN, around 1,000,000 people have been arbitrarily detained in mass internment camps.
Former detainees have described being tortured, forced to drop their Islamic beliefs and have had their children taken away and placed in orphanages.
The government says they are trying to bring “indigenous Central Asian ethnic minorities into Han Chinese society and in turn, a ‘modern’ lifestyle,” the official Xinhua News Agency claimed.
Xinjiang Governor Shohrat Zakir said authorities were providing people with lessons on Mandarin, Chinese history and laws, hoping to “steer them away from extremism.”
China says the camps – or “education centers” – are necessary for countering the threat of terrorism, despite growing alarm from the US and the United Nations.