Secret Chinese detention camps

Penny Ruiz, Writer

A lot of stuff is going on worldwide that is not getting the media coverage it deserves. Especially and currently, China. Recently leaked documents detail for the first time China’s “re-education” camps that are systematically brainwashing hundreds of thousands of Muslims. 

These “re-education” camps as China refers to them, are just high-security prisons. The Chinese government has claimed that the camps are offering voluntary education and training. However, a recent data leak has proven how the inmates are unfairly locked up, indoctrinated and punished due to their Muslim status. China’s UK ambassador brushed off the leak as fake news. An investigation has been opened and so far evidence has been found that undermines the claim made by the ambassador. 

To date, about a million people mostly from the Muslim Uighur community are thought to have been detained without trial. Many news sources and activists have compared the situation in China to the holocaust of WW2. The leaked Chinese government documents, which the ICIJ has labeled “The China Cables”, include a nine-page memo sent out in 2017 by Zhu Hailun, 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, and no escapes. Other things that made the list of instructions are, “promote repentance and confession”, “ensure full video surveillance of dormitories and classrooms free of blind spots”, “encourage students to fully transform”.

Other documents expose the extraordinary scale of the detentions. One reveals that over 15,000 people from South Xinjiang were sent to the camps over the course of just one week in 2017. The leaked documents also disclose how the Chinese government uses mass surveillance to analyze personal data without their citizens’ permission. This memo is an actionable piece of evidence and according to Sophie Richardson, the China director at Human Rights Watch, will be used by prosecutors.