China expanding Xinjiang re-education camps: report

China/  September 25, 2020/By: AFP, SYDNEY/Source:

China is running hundreds of detention centers in the Xinjiang region across a network that is much bigger than previously thought, research presented yesterday by an Australian think tank showed.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said that it identified more than 380 “suspected detention facilities” in the region, where China is believed to have held more than 1 million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking residents.

The number of facilities is about 40 percent greater than previous estimates, the research said, and has been growing despite China’s claims that many Uighurs have been released.

Using satellite imagery, eyewitness accounts, media reports and official construction tender documents, the institute said that “at least 61 detention sites have seen new construction and expansion work between July 2019 and July 2020.”

Fourteen more facilities have been under construction this year, and about 70 have had fencing or perimeter walls removed, indicating that their use has changed, or that they have been closed.

Beijing, which has said the sites are vocational training centers used to counter extremism, yesterday again denied the existence of detention sites.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) called ASPI “the vanguard of anti-China forces, whose academic credibility is seriously questionable.”

US lawmakers recently voted to ban imports from the Xinjiang region, citing the alleged use of systematic forced labor.

Beijing has published a white paper defending its policies in Xinjiang, where it says training programs, work schemes and better education mean that life has improved.

It said that “training sessions” have been given to an average of 1.29 million workers per year from 2014 to last year.

Following the publication of the ASPI report, the Global Times cited “sources” as saying that contributors Clive Hamilton and Alex Joske were banned from entering China.

Wang yesterday did not confirm whether the two academics had been banned, but said that the matter was “totally within the scope of China’s sovereignty.”

A photo taken on May 30 last year shows a watchtower on a high-security facility near what is believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, on the outskirts of Hotan, in China’s Xinjiang region.

Photo: AFP

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China expanding Xinjiang re-education camps: report – Sarraute Educación María Magdalena

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