China’s 21st Century Internment Camps in the Uyghur Region

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 14:19 -- Uyghur1
Chinese Officials attending opening ceremony of new Internment camp in the region

China’s 21stCentury Internment Camps in the Uyghur Region 

                     The Report was commisioned by Rebiya Kadder ,leader of Uyghur movement in exile and the president of International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation

                     

Table of Content 

 

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary......................................................................................................... 3

Naming Convention....................................................................................................................................................................... 3

II. Introduction:.................................................................................................................... 5

The Uyghur Region........................................................................................................................................................................ 5

Under Chen Quanguo’s Hands................................................................................................................................................ 7

Internment Camps in China....................................................................................................................................................... 9

Internment Camps under the Transformation through Education (TTE) system........................................ 9

III. Current Overview of Internment Camps in the Uyghur Region.................................. 12

3.1    Who are the Detainees of China’s 21stCentury Internment Camps?............................................. 12

“Suspicious” and “Untrustworthy”................................................................................................................................... 13

Prominent Uyghurs............................................................................................................................................................... 15

Uyghur and Kazakh Students Abroad........................................................................................................................ 16

Uyghurs and Kazakhs who travelled abroad........................................................................................................ 16

Uyghurs and Kazakhs with Families Abroad......................................................................................................... 16

3.2    Estimated number of people targeted for interment: 3.9 million................................................... 16

3.3 Network, Structure and Capacity of Internment Camps........................................................................... 19

Camps Network, Structure and Capacity................................................................................................................ 19

Prison-like Conditions of Internment Camps....................................................................................................... 20

Technology and Social Re-engineering................................................................................................................... 21

IV. Potential Implications of Internment Camps.............................................................. 22

4.1      Regional Implications............................................................................................................................................... 22

4.2      Global Implications.................................................................................................................................................... 23

V. Callings.......................................................................................................................... 24

VI. Appendix...................................................................................................................... 25

Population Statistics and Estimated Detainees: by County and Prefecture.......................................... 25

Selected Satellite Images of Internment Camps....................................................................................................... 30

References........................................................................................................................................................................................ 33

 

 

 

I. Executive Summary

 

In recent months, journalists, human rights activist, diplomats and Uyghur communities around the world have desperately called attention to the sweeping expansion of internment camps in the Uyghur region of the People’s Republic of China. To date, an estimated 3.9 million Uyghurs and Kazakhs are detained in China’s internment camps in the Uyghur region. Detailed estimates are included in the appendix section of this report.

 

The unprecedented level of repressive measures implemented across the Uyghur region, especially through the use of mass internment camps, should alarm not only China’s neighbors, but also the global community. Despite China’s lack of acknowledgement or transparency around its internment camps, abundant amounts of evidence continue to surface. Massive camp construction efforts have been documented, witnesses have told their stories, and recent news media coverage, satellite images, and statistical data points sufficiently demonstrate China’s on-going massive interment campaign. 

 

One of the main objectives of China’s internment camps in the Uyghur region is to dilute Uyghur cultural identity, and in Xi’s own words, “to enhance Uyghurs’ sense of identity with China, the Chinese culture, the Chinese Communist Party and socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Moreover, the region’s vital role in China’s Belt-and-Road initiative is making Beijing hell-bent on pursuing what it sees as a definite solution in addressing the “Uyghur issue.” By indiscriminately subjecting large swaths of Uyghurs to extensive extrajudicial detentions, humiliating brainwashing procedures, and inhumane living conditions, China is effectively on carrying out ethnic genocide against Uyghurs on an unprecedented level. 

 

The horror in the Uyghur region is not a China issues, it’s a global issue. The responsibility to stand up against China’s inhuman treatments of Uyghurs and its effort to carry out ethnic genocide against them falls on the global community. The pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not exclusively an American right, it is a universal right bestowed on all of mankind. 

 

 

Naming Convention

 

Some refer to these internment camps as “re-education camps,” following the Chinese name given, which translates as “transformation through education,” but there is nothing educational about them. Instead, these camps are used as grounds for the compulsory indoctrination, humiliation, and torture of the Uyghur population; with local officials describing their purpose to be “eradicating tumors” or “killing the weeds.” Therefore, mislabeling these internment camps as “re-education camps” not only camouflages their intended purpose, but also undermines the tragic pre-genocidal reality facing Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities today. These camps should be labeled for what they are – internment camps, as they are used to detain political prisoners, members of Uyghur, Kazakh, and other ethnic minority groups for “reasons”of state security, exploitation, or punishment. Throughout this report, the facilities used by China to mass detain millions of people will be called for what they are – Internment Camps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

II. Introduction:

The Uyghur Region

 

The Uyghur region – home of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, and other Turkic-language people – is crucial in China’s economic, military and social ambitions. Sparsely populated and known for its superior production in oil and gas, the region has been the site of heavy army and police concentration since colonization by China’s Communist regime in 1949. According to official statistics released by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional (XUAR) Statistics Bureau in 2016, the total population in the Uyghur region is roughly 25 million, of which Uyghurs make up about 45.6% (or 11.4 million); ethnic Han Chinese 38% (9.5 million); and Kazakhs 9 percent (2.2 million). The region is also home to a number of other ethnic groups, including Turkic-speaking groups such as Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Tatar, as well as non-Turkic-speaking groups like Hui, Mongols and Russians. 

 

Not only is the Uyghur region considered to be China’s biggest domestic producer of oil and gas, much of the fuel imported from Central Asia and Russia also pass through the infrastructure embedded in the region. The region is a vital link in the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s boldest foreign policy to date and aims to bind the Middle East and Europe to the country through ties of infrastructure, investment and trade. 

 

During the 1990s, China became increasingly concerned about the potential of a Uyghur national liberation movement, especially following the fall of the Soviet Union and the resulting independence of the Central Asian states in 1991. Since Uyghurs are ethnically and culturally more similar to the people of neighboring Central Asian (rather than China’s ethnic Han majority), the paranoid Communist regime began regularly launching repressive campaigns in the Uyghur region, which were justified as measures to maintain “national security” Measures included proliferations of Han migrants in the region, as well as increased security and military presence in the region; arrests of hundreds and thousands of Uyghurs suspected as “separatists;” censorship of non-official information, including publications, music and other artistic forms of expression that the Communist regime viewed as promoting Uyghur identity.

 

Following September 11, 2001, China swiftly rebranded its repressive campaigns in the Uyghur region to align them with what had become a popular discourse of a Global War on Terror (GWOT). By linking its policies suppressing Uyghurs as part of a global effort to counter terrorism, China significantly bolstered its efforts to crackdown on the Uyghur and other Muslim inhabitants of the region. This widespread crackdown resulted in scores of arrests on falsely claimed charges related to terrorism, many carrying death sentences. The GWOT also allowed China to justify its Islamophobia. Mosques across the Uyghur region were constantly raided and eventually shut down, draconian measures were employed to limit people’s daily activities and life rituals that incorporated Islamic or Uyghur elements – such as prayers, weddings, funerals etc. Contrary to China’s rhetoric however, scholars and experts have repeatedly pointed out that there were no viable Uyghur terrorist threat that existed within China’s borders, including the Uyghur region, during the early 2000s. Nevertheless, since late 2000s, China’s draconian policies in the Uyghur region, its repressive measures targeting allUyghurs as a “potential threat” to society and its blatant discrimination against them created an fertile environment for increasing violence. 

 

On July 5, 2009, massive riots and ethnic clashes broke out in the capital city Urumqi, sparked by Uyghur youths protesting the inhumane treatment of Uyghur migrant laborers and the State’s inadequate response to such workers being attacked and killed in southern China. The 2009 riots resulted in hundreds of deaths (both Uyghurs and Han), thousands of arrests (more than 4,000 Uyghurs were arrested within two weeks of the event), and the enforced disappearance of thousands of Uyghurs accused of being involved in the riots. The entire region came under lock-down for an entire year, during which the government shut down the internet throughout the region, restricted cellphone text messaging and blacked all international calls.

 

By 2010, over 40,000 high-definition surveillance cameras with riot-proof protective shells were installed throughout the region. Heightened efforts to monitor and control the general Uyghur population also included additional military troops and security personnel, “volunteer” security officers to monitor all public spaces, numerous newly-established “checkpoints,” and frequent widespread security sweeps in local Uyghur communities and neighborhoods. Passing through these checkpoints can mean anything from the having one’s identification card scanned to having iris-recognition technology pierce into one’s eyes – depending on how “suspicious” or “untrustworthy” one appears to the security personnel staffing the check-point. To enforce its grid-management system in the Uyghur region, China has been flying in troops, parading police convoys through each city, township, and village, and heavily investing in cutting-edge technology. Despite being littered with security cameras, shops, restaurants, and bazaar stalls in predominantly Uyghur cities such as Hotan and Kashgar are required to have a part-time policeman on duty. 

 

Starting 2013, Uyghurs who applied for new passports for blatantly denied and many of those holding an existing passport had theirs confiscated. Between April – October 2015, the ruling Communist Party committees in Uyghur region directed all residents to turn in their passports to local police stations. The order was followed by another directive in June requiring all applicants for passports and other travel documents to supply DNA Sample, fingerprints, a voice-print sample, and a 3D body scan image. While these new rules seemed ostensibly universal, restrictions on passports have strictly targeted ethnic minorities, making it harder for Uyghurs and other ethnic groups to book overseas vacations or go on the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. By 2016, all residents of the region were ordered tosubmit their passports to the Public Security Bureau for “safekeeping,” further restricting Uyghurs’ freedom of movement.

Under Chen Quanguo’s Hands

 

Since Chen Quanguo became the region’s new Communist Party Secretary in late 2016, unprecedented repressive measures have been taken against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other ethnic minorities in the region. Drawing on his experience as Party Secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and with the help of modern technology, Chen has pioneered the most heavily policed region in the world, which he proudly characterized as “grid-style social management.”

 

An unprecedented system of finely-gained mass surveillance targets Uyghurs in their every move. Security checkpoints, often labeled “convenience police stations,” are erected every few hundred yards, completed with anti-riot equipment, metal detectors, face and voice recognition software, and iris scan machines. 

 

Throughout the region, Chinese authorities have initiated random examination of Uyghurs smartphones – both at security checkpoints and through spyware installed in virtually all smartphones in the region. Uyghur storeowners are required to install password activated security doors, panic buttons, and cameras, all of which security organs have full access to. The network of street surveillance cameras throughout the region has not only expanded in number, but have also grown more sophisticated through facial recognition systems and artificial intelligence capabilities. A biological database populated with DNA information of Uyghurs has been established to complement information collected on Uyghurs from other sources of surveillance.[1]

 

Even within their homes, Uyghurs can not escape China’s intrusive and inhumane surveillance tactics, for Chen has also established ways to monitor, track and control the private lives of Uyghurs, as well as their thoughts and beliefs. Heavy surveillance is enforced upon all private communications through China’s particularly sophisticated Internet surveillance apparatus, which patrols and collects big data on Uyghurs on the web. In rural areas, tracking of private lives also involves Chinese authorities and party officials regularly paying visits to or living with Uyghur families. All residents of the Uyghur region, including Uyghurs, are called upon to monitor and report on neighbors behaviors, thoughts, beliefs and activities – with an incentive of 2000 - 5 million Yuan ($260  - $730,000), depending on the usefulness of information reported. According to government advertisements in Hotan, a majority Uyghur prefecture in the Uyghur region, the smallest rewards (of 2000 Yuan) is given for reporting on “face coverings and robes, youth wearing long beards, or other popular religious customs…”

 

Data collected through various means of electronic, biological, and human surveillance are aggregated by China’s Public Security Bureau in the Uyghur region to establish a “predictive policing” program known as the “Integrated Joint Operations Platform.” The system is intended to create an all-encompassing means of tracking, monitoring and controlling all Uyghur residents of the region, including not only their record of activities and behaviors, but also their thoughts and beliefs as gleaned from their web activities, electronic communications, physical appearance, and their reported interactions with peers. In addition to predicting future activities deemed “disloyal” by the Communist regime, the system also allows for post-facto punishments of past transgressions by Uyghurs, which may be considered a “threat” by the state not only in present times but also in the future. 

 

Measures adopted under Chen have not only targeted individual Uyghurs as “threats” but the entire population of Uyghurs. Since 2016, Uyghur government officials and party members have also come under great scrutiny. Majority of Uyghur state officials have been labeled “two-faced” people, accused of sympathizing with extremist and terrorist activities. In Hotan, nearly 100 party cadres were punished for failing to report on suspicious activities in their areas and for under-reporting the number of people attending the local mosque, attending or hosting weddings, funerals and other life events outside of officially designated locations. Prominent Uyghur officials, intellectuals, scholars, artists,  as well as wealthy entrepreneurs have been targeted especially in areas densely populated with Uyghurs. In January 2018, for example, four of the wealthiest businessmen in the city of Kashgar were arrested on counts of “religious extremism.”

 

Under Chen, China’s most recent efforts in targeting ethnic Uyghurs is the on-going operation of mass extra-judicial interment camps through the region, deceptively labeled “re-education camps.” Local informants, media sources, and accounts of a few individuals who managed to escape these internment camps paint a picture of 21stcentury style prison where detainees are subjected to monotonous and regimented daily routine, inhuman treatments and torture. Reports have also surfaced on individuals falling ill or passing away due to the horrific conditions of these camps. 

 

These internment camps represent China’s latest efforts in de-humanizing, controlling and eventually exterminating the entireUyghur population, which the Communist regime has branded as a “threat” to China’s “harmonious society.” Aside from its superior technological capabilities, China’s mass internment camps throughout the Uyghur region are identical to some of the well-known examples of concentration camps in the twentieth century in its mass character and purpose of isolating and quarantining a specific population. As Sean Roberts puts it in his most recent article on the issue, entitled “The Bio-politics of China’s War on Terror and the Exclusion of Uyghurs,” China’s internment camps in the Uyghur region reflect “perhaps the clearest example of how the PRC’s counter-terrorism policies toward the Uyghurs since 2016 have taken on an exclusionary character that verges on characterizing them as Homo Sacer– outside of civilized society and the protection of the law.”

Internment Camps in China

 

China’s tools of suppression have grown dramatically both in terms of their sophistication and capacity. The most inhumane tools - such as those involving forced indoctrination, torture, and murder – are all pooled into the form of internment camps. Since their first use under Mao’s Communist regime to punish counter-revolutionaries, China’s internment camps have expanded both in its capacity to hold detainees and in its technological capabilities. The system of internment camps under Mao – the Reform through Labor system ( RTL), also known as the Laogai system - was established in 1950s as part of the formal prison system, and inmates are convicted through legal proceedings. The RTL system primarily targeted “counter-revolutionaries.” The Re-education through Labor system (REL) system, on the other hand, came into existence in 1957 as a extrajudicial administrative penalty and internment system that operates outside of the formal prison system. The REL system targets political dissidents, petitioners, human rights activists, Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, and Tibetans among others.

Internment Camps under the Transformation through Education (TTE) system

 

The Transformation through Education (TTE) system was established in early 2000s, partly in response to the growing international attention on the inhuman conditions of REL, which was officially abolished in 2013 though continued informally in practice. Similarly, the TTE system is completely extrajudicial and detains the same groups of people targeting under the RTL and REL systems. In addition, China also uses TTE to detain and coercively “convert” anyone who is considered to have a “non-conformist” or “backward” mindsets. The TTE system operates alongside the official prison and detention system, wherein prison inmates are sometimes sent to TTE camps to be “re-educated,” or TTE camp detainees are sentenced to prison after a period of time in camp. 

 

As early as 2013, reports of “transformation through education” system in the Uyghur region began surfacing. In August 2013, a District in Turpan City reported that it was undertaking “transformation through education work” in order to punish those wearing veils, growing facial hair, or wearing ethnic clothes. At the time, “re-education” was implemented in a localized fashion such as personal visits to private homes by government officials and mandatory “study sessions.”

 

Since then, the application of “transformation through education” in the Uyghur region rapidly proliferated along with China’s various “anti-terrorism” and “de-extremification” campaigns in the region. Beginning April 2017, massive detentions of Uyghurs and Kazakhs began throughout the Uyghur region following the publication of the Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Government’s (XUAR) “de-extremification regulations” (新疆维吾尔自治区去极端化条例). Directive no. 14 in section 3 of this document states that: 

 

"De-extremification must do transformation through education well, jointly implementing individual and centralized education, jointly implementing legal education and supporting activities, thought education, psychological counseling, jointly implementing behavioral correction and skills education, jointly implementing transformation through education and care for the person [lit. humanistic concern], strengthening the outcome of transformation through education."

 

Another influential document in the development of China’s internment campaign in the Uyghur region is a research paper published in June 2017 by Xinjiang’s Urumqi Party School, which argues that the present time represents a “golden” opportunity for intensive “re-education measures,” following the 3-year “strike hard” campaign and the “one-year stable residence” campaign initiated by Chen Quango in October 2016. 

 

The current Political-Transformation through Education (PTE) system carried out in the Uyghur region resembles the TTE in its extrajudicial process and operations alongside the formal prison system. However, the intended purpose of the PTE system is much more ambitious and its structure much more sophisticated, partly thanks to technology. In the Uyghur region, the PTE system is implemented as a network of camps labeled “re-education centers,” “re-education bases,” and “re-education schools” (see Table 1 for different names used for PTE camps), all of which operating alongside regular prison and detention centers.[2]

 

Figure 1 – Development of China’s Internment Camps (1950s – Present) 

Cube: Political-Transformation-through-Education<br />
(PTE)</p>
<p>Various Names<br />
2013– Present<br />
Cube: Transformation-through-Education<br />
(TTE)</p>
<p>教育转化<br />
(Jiaoyu Zhuanhua)<br />
2000s– Present<br />
Cube: Re-education-through-Labor<br />
(REL)</p>
<p>捞动教养<br />
(Laodong Jiaoyang)<br />
1950s – 2013 *<br />
Cube: Reform-through-Labor<br />
(RTL)</p>
<p>捞动改造<br />
(Laodong Gaizo)<br />
1950s –<br />

* Re-education-through-Labor (REL) system was officially abolished in 2013, though China continued the practice informally

 

Table 1 – Selected Names used to disguise PTE camps in the Uyghur Region

 

Political-Transformation-through-Education(PTE)

2013– Present

职业发展中心

(Zhiye Fanzhang Zhingxin)             

Career Development Canter

去极端化教育转化中心

(Quji duanhua jiaoyu zhuanhua zhongxin)

De-extremification though Education Transformation Center

法制培训学校

(fazhi peixuen xuexiao)

Legal System Training School

 

集中教育转化

(jizhong jiaoyu zhuanhua)

Centralized Transformation through

教育转化中心

(Jiaoyu Zhuanhua Zhongxin)

 Education Transformation Center

去极端化教育培训中心

(Quji duanhua jiaoyu peixun zhongxin)

De-extremification Education & Training Center

去极端化教育培训中心

(Quji duanhua jiaoyu peixun zhongxin)

De-extremification Education & Training Center

学习班

(Xue-xi Ban)

Study Class

教育改造

(jiaoyu gaizao)

Educational Transformation

康复矫治中心

(Fuyuan jiaozhi zhongxin)

Rehabilitation Correction Center 

 

 

 

III. Current Overview of Internment Camps in the Uyghur Region

3.1      Who are the Detainees of China’s 21stCentury Internment Camps?

 

Uyghurs and the Piloting of China’s Social Credit System (SCS) 

 

The main criteria for selection of detainees for internment are based on ethnic and religious identities. There are no known reports of ethnic Han Chinese being placed in internment camps in the Uyghur region, only members of Uyghur, Kazakh, Kirghiz, and other ethnic minorities. With respect to religious identities, Chinese government officials openly discuss the need to “cleanse” rural villages with majority Muslim populations. In 2015, Xinjiang's justice department's party committee secretary stated that in a typical (Muslim) village, 30% are "polluted by religious extremism" and therefore need to be engaged in “concentrated education...work” in order for the village to be “cleansed.” A public official in Khotan County argued that of those who are “polluted,” 5% were the “hardened” faction and 15% supporters of those who are “hardened.” 

 

Countries with large Muslim populations – such as Egypt, Malaysia, and Turkey, have become “off-limits” for Uyghurs, and those who have previously visited such countries have come under great scrutiny and at times accusations of receiving “extremist” Muslim indoctrination. In many cases, family members and friends of those who have travelled to Turkey or are still in Turkey have been targeted and taken to internment camps. 

 

Following the primary criteria above, police and government officials evaluate the “trustworthiness” of residents in the Uyghur region based on a numerical scoring system that deducts points based on various identity elements and actions that are deemed “suspicious” or “threatening to national security.” For instance, subjects receive an automatic 10% deduction in “trustworthiness” for being Uyghur. Additional points are deducted for engaging in “illegal religious activities or “displaying signs of “extremism.” The system used to evaluate residents in the Uyghur region is in part a pilot of China’s Social Credit System (SCS) – which is designed to value and engineer individual behavior by establishing the “scores” of citizens. The SCS pilot scheme in the Uyghur region targets those who are considered “suspicious,” “untrustworthy” or pose “threats” to the Communist Party’s rule. Since launching, China has used SCS (alongside various oppressive measures) in the Uyghur region as a weapon to legitimize its targeting of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities under the disguise of promoting “social stability.” The SCS system is expected to be fully implemented across the nation by 2020, and has already been used in parts of China (other than the Uyghur region) to ban citizens with low scores from using various public infrastructures such as railways and aviation.

 

In the Uyghur region, China’s SCS pilot project is complemented with a man-powered system called Fanghuiju, which sends teams of half a dozen—composed of policemen, Party leaders and local officials – to visit from house to house across rural townships, and villages compiling dossiers of personal information. In 2017, over 10,000 fanghuiju teams were sent to rural areas to report on “extremist” behavior such as notdrinking alcohol and fasting during Ramadan, as well as the presence of “undesirable” items in each household such as Korans and banned Uyghur scriptures. 

 

China’s “becoming kin” system, in which local families (mostly Uighur) “adopt” ethnic Han officials, and receive “family visits” from them regularly, sometimes living in the same household for a short period. These government officials officials also verify information collected by fanghuiju teams on their “adopted family.” According to an official report in 2018, 1.1m government officials have been paired with 1.6m Uyghur families since the inception of the “becoming kin” system. Moreover, large forces of people are employed by the government to work as “eyes” to identify “suspicious” individuals within their social circles, neighborhoods and community. In January 2018, RFA spoke to Public Security Officials who work as “eyes” for the communist party, some of whom boasted about reporting over 50 individuals who displayed “suspicious behavior” to Chinese authorities.

 

While government officials monitor Uyghurs within their households, technology maps their activities street by street and phone by phone. In every city, township and village with majority Uyghur population, eight to ten video cameras are installed at intervals of 100-200 meters. Cameras are equipped to work day and night, detecting and identifying pedestrians, car number plates, as well as the face of the person driving them. Only registered owners may drive cars; anyone else will be arrested, according to a public security officials. Recent media reports surfacing indicate that Chinese surveillance chiefs began testing a facial recognition system that alerts authorities when targets stray more than 300 meters from their homes or workplace.

“Suspicious” and “Untrustworthy”

 

This finely grained surveillance net comprising both human and artificial intelligence, is deployed throughout the Uyghur region with its greatest force in the southwest, where around 80% of residents are Uyghurs, effectively identify “suspicious” and “untrustworthy” individuals to be sent to internment camps.

 

Table 2 listsselectedidentity elements and activities that are considered to be “suspicious,” “illegal,” and or display signs of “extremism.” All of these elements and actions have been documented as causes for detentions in internment camps. 

 

 

 

Table 2 – Identity Elements and Actions documented as causes for internment

Identity

State-determined category

Belong to an ethnic minority group, including Uyghur, Kazakh, and Kirghiz

Suspicious/Untrustworthy

Under 40 (born in 1980s and 1990s) 

Violent generations/ Untrustworthy

Being Muslim

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Being related to a “black-listed” individual

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Being related to an individual with foreign citizenship

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Being related to an individual living in a pre-dominantly Muslim country (i.e. Egypt, Malaysia, Turkey, etc.)

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Religious extremism

Former prisoners who are already released

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Activities

Connections/communication abroad[3]

State-determined category

Expressing interest in traveling abroad

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Encouraging others to travel abroad

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Traveling abroad for any reason (e.g. education, tourism)

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Receiving a phone call from abroad

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Maintaining contacts overseas, such as family members and friends who live or study abroad

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Uyghur cultural practices 

State-determined category

Uyghur writers and artists who have in some way promoted Uyghur ethnic identity in their work

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Possessing unapproved books, literature or sermons

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Attending (or have previously attended” certain “prohibited” sermons 

Suspicious / Untrustworthy; Religious extremism

Political Expression

State-determined category

Expressing a critical opinion of the ruling Chinese Communist Party 

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

 

Holding views are considered to be insufficiently aligned with Party doctrines (i.e. Uyghur government officials, journalists, critics, intellectuals)

“Two-faced Persons” 

Suspicious / Untrustworthy

Religious practices – Strong Religious Views

State-determined category

Praying 5 times a day 

Religious extremism

Praying with feet apart

Religious extremism 

Previously taken the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca (Haj)

Religious extremism

Previously travelled to a predominantly Muslim country that’s considered to be “off-limits” to Uyghurs (i.e. Egypt, Malaysia, and Turkey)

Religious extremism

Wearing clothing attire that resemble Islamic clothing (e.g. long skirts, scarves, hijabs, niqabs and burkas)

Religious extremism

Having facial hair

Religious extremism

Buying a tent 

Religious extremism

Quitting cigarettes 

Religious extremism

Abstaining from alcohol beverages 

Religious extremism

Abstaining from eating pork

Religious extremism

Fasting during the month of Ramadan

Religious extremism

Owning a Quran – physical or electronic copy 

Religious extremism

Naming children Islamic names

Religious extremism

Taking part in life ceremonies (e.g. marriage, death, etc.) using religious rather than legal procedures 

Religious extremism

Organizing minors into attending religious activities

Religious extremism

Daily (Other) Activities

State-determined category

Disposing of mobile phone SIM cards

Suspicious 

Infrequent use of mobile phone after registration

Suspicious

Being unemployed 

Suspicious and untrustworthy 

Homeschooling one’s children 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the identity elements and actions above, certain groups of Uyghurs and Kazakhs are specifically targeted for internment, including:

 

Prominent Uyghurs

In addition to the identity elements and causes mentioned above, prominent Uyghurs who are regarded as being influential – such as celebrities, musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, as well as those regarded as thought leaders – such as intellectuals, professors, authors, and poets have been targeted for enforced disappearance or detained in internment camps. 

 

Uyghur writers and artists who have in some way promoted Uyghur ethnic identity in their work are especially targeted for internment or enforced disappearance. Examples include the famous Uyghur folk musician Abdurehim Heyit, who was taken away to an internment camp in Urumqi in 2017; Uyghur pop music start Ablajan Awut Ayyup, who disappeared in February while on his way to Urumqi following a recording trip in Shanghai; and Erfan Hazim, one of the best Uyghur professional soccer players who was arrested and detained following his visits to Dubai and Spain to train and take part in soccer matches.

 

One of the most respectable and influential Uyghur religious scholar, Muhammad Salih Hajim, was taken to an internment camp in Urumqi along with his daughter and other relatives in late 2017. In January 2018, it was reported that the 82-year-old scholar who is known for translating the Quran from Arabic to Uyghur had deceased while in custody. 

Uyghur and Kazakh Students Abroad

Since April 2017, Chinese authorities have ordered Uyghurs studying abroad in countries including Egypt, Turkey, France, Australia, and the U.S. to return home, and have subsequently detained some of them in internment camps across the Uyghur region. Returning Uyghur students have been arrested and taken to internment camps in order to  be “cleansed” of ideology that endangers state security. 

 

Over 200 Uyghur and Kazakh students holding Chinese passports were targeted in July 2017 by Egypt's secret police in an operation requested by Beijing. Many of the students were attending Cairo’s Al-Azhar Islamic University, and were rounded up in restaurants or at their homes, with others seized at airports as they tried to flee to safer countries.

Uyghurs and Kazakhs who travelled abroad

Uyghurs and Kazakhs who are detained at interment camps after having travelled abroad will first be interrogated camp staff about their impressions and how the experience had changed them. Following interrogations, detainees are held indefinitely until they admit that it was “wrong” to have left the country. Those who have travelled to Central Asia or predominantly-Muslim countries come under additional scrutiny for having been influenced by “extremist” views. 

 

Uyghurs who have previously travelled abroad for any reason are put on “black-lists,” making them easy targets for interment camps. Often times, family members of black-listed individuals also come under great scrutiny as they are deemed “untrustworthy” and/or “suspicious.”

Uyghurs and Kazakhs with Families Abroad

Uyghurs and Kazakhs with family members abroad – despite the citizenship status of such relative, are targeted as “suspicious individuals” especially if there is an open line of communication (whether by phone or via the internet). For instance in September 2017, RFA reported that police in Arshang (in Chinese, Wenquan) County of Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture detained an unknown number of local people including farmers, herders, students and government officials, who had relatives living across the border in Kazakhstan, and were detained for the alleged offense of "discussion of how to emigrate to Kazakhstan on group chat."

 

Currently, an estimated 3.9 million Uyghurs and Kazakhs are targeted as detainees for internment. Estimates are based on population statistics and arrest quotas set by Chinese authorities in the Uyghur region. Areas with highest shares of arrests are those with large shares of Uyghur and/or Kazakh populations, including Kashgar, Hotan, and Aksu prefectures. The following section details the methodology used in obtaining these estimates. 

3.2      Estimated number of people targeted for interment: 3.9 million

 

Earlier this year, Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group, reckoned the overall number detained may be 800,000. Timothy Grose, a professor at Rose-Hulman University in Indiana, puts the total between 500,000 and 1m. Adrian Zenz, a lecturer in social research methods at the Germany-based European School of Culture and Theology, also stated that the number of detainees in interment camps “could be closer to 1.1 million, which equates to 10-11 percent of the adult Muslim population of the region."  
 

Since April 2017, local authorities from multiple counties across Hotan Prefecture, where Uyghurs make up 97% of the population have informed RFA about a 40% internment quota set by higher-level authorities. Experts suggest that similar orders have been given in other areas of the region, and that authorities are detaining as many Uyghurs (and Kazakhs) as possible, regardless of age, occupation, prior service to the Communist party or the severity of accusations against them. 

 

In March 2018, Local officials in Ghulja County, Ili Prefecture, where Uyghurs and Kazakhs each make up about 30% of the population, told RFA that authorities had order 10% of residents to be sent to internment camps.[4]Relying on these qualitative information collected by Radio Free Asia (RFA) Uyghur Service, we make the following assumptions about internment quotas based on ethnic population makeup of each county in the Uyghur region. 

 

Internment Quota

Criteria

40% 

Counties in which Uyghurs and Kazakhs make up more than 90% of the population

30% 

Counties in which Uyghurs and Kazakhs make up 70 – 90% of the population

20%

Counties in which Uyghurs and Kazakhs make up 50-70% of the population

10%

Counties in which Uyghurs and Kazakhs make up 30-50% of the population

5%

Counties in which Uyghur and Kazakhs make up less than 10 - 30% of the population

0%

Counties in which Uyghur and Kazakhs make up less than 10% of the population

 

Applying these assumptions to the population statistics of the Uyghur region published by the Xinjiang Bureau of Statistics in 2016, we estimate that nearly 4 million Uyghurs and Kazakhs are targeted as detainees for internment. Estimates are highest for areas with the large shares of Uyghur and/or Kazakh populations, with an estimated 1.6 million residents in Kashgar prefecture subjected to internment; followed by over 868,000 residents in Hotan prefecture; and over 626,000 residents in Aksu prefecture. A complete table with estimates for each county is included in the Appendix. 

 

These estimations corroborate anecdotal claims that the number of detainees in the region’s south—where the highest concentration of Uyghurs are based—far surpasses that in the north. For example, in a village later visited by Agence France Presse in Qaraqash county, near Hotan, a fifth of adults had been detained over four months. 

 

Figure 2. Uyghur Population in the Uyghur region

 

 

 

3.2 

3.3 Network, Structure and Capacity of Internment Camps

 

The substantial body of PRC governmental sources that prove the existence of the camps also provide clues about camp capacity, camp equipment capabilities, and conditions within interment camps. Capacity of internment camps has been reported to hold anywhere between 300 - 3,000 detainees.[5]

 

In May 2018, Dr. Adrian Zenz of the European School of Culture and Theology in Germany presented a detailed empirical analysis of internment camps in the Uyghur region. Using information from 73 government procurement and construction bids valued at nearly 700 billion RMB (approximately USD 108 million), along with public recruitment notices and other documents, Dr. Zenz provided an unprecedented insight into the evolution and extent of the region’s interment campaign. Satellite images (see appendix) further illustrate the incredibly speedy pace at which internment camps are being constructed across the Uyghur region.  In addition to the construction of new internment camp facilities, efforts to upgrade and expand existing facilities have been documented. In many cases, public schools, manufacturing plants, and other facilities have been re-purposed as internment camps. 

Camps Network, Structure and Capacity

 

China's central government authorities have not publicly acknowledged the existence of internment camps in the Uyghur region, and the number of inmates kept in each facility remains a closely guarded secret, as is the number of internment camp facilities. However, local officials in many parts of the region have in RFA telephone interviews forthrightly described sending significant numbers of Uyghurs to the camps and even described overcrowding in some facilities.
 

The current internment system in place in the Uyghur region is based on a sophisticated network of dedicated internment facilities, organized by a three-tiered “re-education system in which interment camps are established at county, township and village levels. The three-tiered system was first established in November 2014 in Konasheher County or Kashgar Prefecture, and was likewise mentioned in a 2017 government research paper, whose ideas found widespread adoption throughout China’s internment campaign in the Uyghur region. Furthermore, RFA interviews with local informants as well as government bid documents analyzed by researchers such as Adrien Zenz corroborate the existence of such facilities at city, county, township and village levels.

 

The Uyghur region, under the administration of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional government, consist of 119 city-level, prefectural and county level administrative units, along with 1,097 township-level administration units and over 11,000 village –level administrative units. If the three-tier system is fully implemented, and with the assumption of 1-internment-camp per city, county, village, and prefecture level administration, the number of internment camps in the Uyghur region would be 12,216.

 

In reality however, the number of internment facilities in areas with predominantly Uyghur population far exceeds 1-per-city or 1-per-county. For instance, satellite images reveal that in Akto County alone, where Uyghurs and Kazakhs account for a combined 70% of the total population, there are at least 6 internment facilities. Similarly, local sources indicate that there are at least 4 internment camps in Kashgar city alone, with the largest being a recently re-purposed middle school. Government bids for internment facilities over the last year reveal that over 600 million RMB was spent in Kashgar prefecture alone to cover interment camp related costs. In Hotan prefecture, at least 340 million RMB was spent over the last year to cover expenses related to constructing or upgrading internment camps and facilities. 

 

Assuming that each facility would on average host 250 to 880 detainees (though some facilities hold up to 3,600 people and reports of overly crowded facilities have surfaced), which is broadly in line with the Urumqi Party School research paper's suggestions, government bid data and informant reports, the overall capacity of the internment system ranges between 3 million to 10.75 million. 

 

Prison-like Conditions of Internment Camps

 

Despite the deceptive and wide-ranging names given to internment facilities – such as Transformation-through-Education Center, Vocational Skills Education and Training Center, County Transformation-through-Education School, etc., what they resemble are prisons rather than schools. 

 

Internment camps across the Uyghur region are fortified with barb-wired security fences, bomb-proof surfaces, full-coverage surveillance equipment such as cameras and audio transmitters, watch-overs, guard rooms, and facilities for armed police force. The use of “military-style” management and “strict course schedule” are implemented throughout all internment camps to effective carry out compulsory indoctrination. 

 

Accounts by a few individuals who managed to escape internment camps provides descriptions of life in China’s internment camps. Inmates are permitted to leave their assigned compartments within camps only to use restrooms, for which they must be accompanied by at least one police officer or camp security personnel. 

 

Daily routine in internment camps begin at 5 a.m. with detainees washing up using limited water and washing space. Camp guards then begin making their inspection rounds to check detainees beds to ensure that they are properly made. One steamed bun per detainee is given for breakfast at 6 am, following which detainees are ordered to march through the campground chanting cadences in Chinese: “Train hard, study diligently.” 

 

Propaganda films are played featuring state-appointed religious leaders who explain the differences between legal and “illegal” religious practices, and skits demonstrating the consequences of engaging in “illegal religious activities.” Warnings about such consequences are also displayed on large posters outside every religious site in the region. Following mandatory propaganda videos, detainees are served lunch (one steamed bun and vegetable soup) and are permitted to “rest” on their platform beds, though laying down is forbidden. Afternoons consist of more marching, chanting, and propaganda videos, and detainees are order to sleep at 6 p.m. (8 p.m. Beijing time). Other activities demanded of camp detainees include singing patriotic songs, actively taking part in “self-criticism” and “repenting” sessions, and sitting through lectures on Xi Jinping “thought,” Chinese language, Chinese law, and the dangers of Islam.

 

Detainees are held in internment camps indefinitely and without any formal charges. Some are released within a few days or weeks, while others are passed on to a “higher-tier” internment camp or sentenced to prison. Several accounts of detainees dying in interment camps have been reported, including a 17-year-old Uyghur boy who was taken to an interment camp in Kashgar following his vacation to Turkey. 

Technology and Social Re-engineering

 

Innovation and technology has bolstered the sophistication of China’s totalitarian determinations, as exemplified by the modern technology embedded throughout its interment camps across the Uyghur region. China’s Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), which uses machine learning systems combined with information attained from surveillance cameras, smartphones, financial and medical records, as well as reports by the thousands of Chinese officials deployed to monitor residents  to generate lists of suspects for detention. 

 

High-resolution cameras that leave “no dead angles,” voice IP communication technology, and other cutting-edge technology are embedded in internment camps to monitor every move of detainees. Data points collected are then transmitted through the Integrated Information Collection Platforms (IICP) to police and authorities at each level to be analyzed and acted upon. 

 

 

 

IV. Potential Implications of Internment Camps

4.1      Regional Implications

 

The targeting of the entire population of Uyghurs as “terrorists,” along with the on-going cycle of repression-violence-repression,[6]has led to Uyghurs’ de-facto exclusion from legal rights as well as universally acknowledged basic human rights. Uyghur live in a constant state of intense surveillance not placed on any other groups in Chinese society. Regardless of efforts by Uyghurs to demonstrate their loyalty to the Communist regime, and such efforts have been made by many to preserve their own wellbeing, they remain under scrutiny as “potential terrorists” unless they literally condemn their Uyghur identity and ethnic heritage. In the eyes of the Chinese government, all Uyghurs are deemed a threat to the party’s social orders - guilty of terrorist or extremist inclinations, until proven innocent. As a result, the cycle of repression-violence-repression is likely to continue and intensify.

 

The social ramifications of China’s internment camps are both pervasive and destructive. Amid the detentions, Uyghur women and children are being forced to endure heavy labor to make up for wages lost by the men in their families who are held in re-education camps. Uyghur children whose parents or guardians have been detained in the camps are being held in government-run ‘orphanages’, both inside and outside of the Uyghur region as overcrowding has forced authorities to send them to facilities in the country’s inner provinces. Anecdotal accounts also describe children under 5 being left behind in empty homes, with surrounding neighbors hesitant to help or care for them so as to avoid scrutiny from the authorities. State-run orphanages are being built rapidly across the region, where children who were abandoned involuntarily by their parents (who are now internment camp detainees) are abducted and brought to be State officials. 

 

Drawing on writings of Michael Foucault, Sean Roberts describes the gradual exclusion of Uyghurs as an expression of biopolitics where the Uyghur people as a whole have come to symbolize an almost biological threat to society that must be quarantined through surveillance, punishment, and detention. This depiction is even more alarming against the backdrop of the proliferating crematoriums rapidly being constructed across the region, where Uyghur and other ethnic minority corpses are being brought directly by security officials with zero involvement of family members. To be clear, these Crematoria are being built to literally extinguish not only Uyghur corpses without acknowledgement, but also Uighur funeral traditions (which insists on burials). 

 

4.2      Global Implications

 

Communist regimes from Romania to North Korea have long considered internment camps as a core instrument for achieving social control. Today, China is using this very same instrument, albeit significantly more sophisticated and technologically advanced, in hopes of achieving total control of the Uyghur region and its residents. However, given the region’s importance to China’s Belt-and-Road initiative and its other socio-economic and military ambitions, the extent of brutality China is willing and capable of employing across its internment camps are unprecedented. 

 

As pointed out by James Millward and Adrian Zens, we would do well to ponder whether what is happening in the Uyghur region will stay in the Uyghur region. For starters, the fact that a core region of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is littered with internment camps should worry the global community. It’s no secret that through the one road one belt initiative, China intends to secure it’s military presence and economic dominance across BRI countries. The infrastructure being built by China, including roads, railways and ports are said to contribute to economic development in the region. However, they also serve to benefit China’s military capabilities, as they enable Beijing to secure an effective means for communication and the movement of troops in a contingency. Moreover, China has been using its position on the U.N. Human Rights Council and the U.N. Security Council not only to stifle discussion of its actions, but also to attempt to rewrite international human rights to allow expansion of these practices by any dictatorship with the means.

 

At the moment, China’s draconian policies and repression against Uyghurs continue to be exported around the world. Families of U.S. citizens who speak out against Beijing, including its interment of their family members are targeted as part of the Beijing’s effort to silence all international criticism. Many Uyghur journalists at Radio Free Asia, including Gulchehra Hoja – who testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China on July 26 of this year, have had more than dozens of family members (including elderly and children) arrested and detained. 

 

Just as the Uyghur region has become China’s testing ground for its “Social Credit System,” it has also become a laboratory for China’s use of cutting-edge surveillance technology. China’s surveillance efforts have already infiltrated many parts of the globe, and most recently such efforts have involved Uyghurs who are citizens or residents of countries in Europe, North America and beyond. So far, China’s new-found global political and economic clout has allowed the Communist regime to ignore growing international outrage over its policies in the Uyghur region, and instead continue to criminalize and de-humanize Uyghurs for reasons none other than their identity. 

 

 

 

V. Callings 

 

 

We call on the Chinese government to end its repressive policies in the Uyghur region and free all those arbitrarily detained. 

 

We call on China to immediately end all forms of arbitrary detention, and ensure that laws protecting detainees are brought in line with international human rights standards.

 

We call on the Chinese government to grant Uyghurs their basic and fundamental human rights.

 

We call for all nation states around the world, including its people and governments, to continue calling out the atrocities in the Uyghur region in a public and direct manner, as top U.S. officials and lawmakers have done recently.

 

We call for the U.S. administration to impose sanctions on senior Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses in the Uyghur region, including Chen Quanguo, under the Global Magnitsky Act. 

 

We call for U.S. corporations to stop selling China technological equipment and items that can be used for repression, including DNA technologies and video surveillance tools. 

 

We call for international-led investigations into the Uyghur region to investigate the locations of and conditions inside interment camps, as well as the health and wellbeing of those arbitrarily detained in them.

 

We call on western democratic countries to protect the Uyghurs living within their borders, who are continuously being harassed by China in numerous ways.

 

We call on western democratic countries to assist the Uyghur diaspora in their efforts to communicate with their families, relatives and peers living in the Uyghur region.

 

 

 

 

VI. Appendix

 

Population Statistics and Estimated Detainees: by County and Prefecture

 

County/District/City

 

       

Prefecture Level

County/District/City

 Chinese Name

 Total 

 Uyghur 

 Kazakh 

Combined Total

% of Population

I* Rate

 Estimated Detainees 

Urumqi City

Urumqi City

乌鲁木齐市

 2,668,315 

 339,951 

 63,780 

 403,731

15%

---

 27,911 

Dabancheng District

达坂城区

 41,329 

 2,387 

 6,839 

 9,226 

22%

0.05

 461 

Mido District 

米东区

 287,202 

 10,278 

 4,708 

 14,986 

5%

0

 -   

Shaybak District 

沙依巴克区

 551,498 

 57,698 

 7,448 

 65,146 

12%

0.05

 3,257 

Shinshi District 

新市区

 641,248 

 40,348 

 3,887 

 44,235 

7%

0

 -   

Bulaqtagh (Shuimogou) District 

水磨沟区

 292,172 

 30,344 

 3,015 

 33,359 

11%

0.05

 1,668 

Tengritagh (Tianshan) District 

天山区

 572,556 

 176,527 

 11,978 

 188,505

33%

0.1

 18,851 

Tudunghaba (Toutunhe) District

头屯河区

 219,419 

 21,427 

 1,635 

 23,062 

11%

0.05

 1,153 

Urumqi County

乌鲁木齐县

 62,891 

 942 

 24,270 

 25,212 

40%

0.1

 2,521 

Aksu Prefecture

Aksu Prefecture

阿克苏地区

 2,530,506 

 2,030,600 

 162 

 2,030,762 

80%

 

 626,885

Aksu City

阿克苏市

 513,682 

 278,210 

 38 

 278,248

54%

0.2

 55,650 

Awat County

阿瓦提县

 262,842 

 217,722 

 6 

 217,728

83%

0.3

 65,318 

Bay (Baicheng) County

拜城县

 241,079 

 212,272 

 22 

 212,294

88%

0.3

 63,688 

Kalpin (Keping) County

柯坪县

 55,425 

 53,804 

 2 

 53,806 

97%

0.4

 21,522 

Kuchar (Kuche) County

库车县

 492,535 

 440,125 

 58 

 440,183

89%

0.3

 132,055

Shayar (Shaya) County

沙雅县

 274,382 

 230,129 

 2 

 230,131

84%

0.3

 69,039 

Wensu County

温宿县

 259,305 

 197,360 

 11 

 197,371

76%

0.3

 59,211 

Uqturpan (Wushi) County

乌什县

 235,336 

 216,579 

 12 

 216,591

92%

0.4

 86,636 

Toksu (Xinhe) County

新和县

 195,920 

 184,399 

 11 

 184,410

94%

0.4

 73,764 

Altay Prefecture

Altay Prefecture

阿勒泰地区

 667,988 

 9,434 

 352,161 

 361,595

54%

 

 73,094 

Altay City

阿勒泰市

 231,466 

 4,890 

 79,626 

 84,516 

37%

0.1

 8,452 

Burqin County

布尔津县

 72,378 

 1,008 

 41,583 

 42,591 

59%

0.2

 8,518 

Burultoqay (Fuhai) County

福海县

 75,486 

 509 

 31,191 

 31,700 

42%

0.1

 3,170 

Fuyun County

富蕴县

 97,113 

 1,929 

 71,384 

 73,313 

75%

0.3

 21,994 

Habahe County

哈巴河县

 87,356 

 346 

 53,437 

 53,783 

62%

0.2

 10,757 

Jeminay (Jimunai) County

吉木乃县

 38,899 

 194 

 24,849 

 25,043 

64%

0.2

 5,009 

Chinggil (Qinghe) County

青河县

 65,290 

 558 

 50,091 

 50,649 

78%

0.3

 15,195 

Bayingolin Prefecture

Bayingolin Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture

巴音郭楞蒙古自治州

 1,393,812 

 440,283 

 1,289 

 441,572

32%

 

 51,386 

Bohu County

博湖县

 59,900 

 10,464 

 19 

 10,483 

18%

0.05

 524 

Hejing County

和静县

 183,533 

 51,069 

 1,061 

 52,130 

28%

0.05

 2,607 

Heshuo County

和硕县

 65,704 

 10,641 

 37 

 10,678 

16%

0.05

 534 

Korla City (Bayingholin)

库尔勒市

 558,968 

 129,411 

 102 

 129,513

23%

0.05

 6,476 

Luntai County

轮台县

 146,219 

 95,078 

 8 

 95,086 

65%

0.2

 19,017 

Yanqi Hui Autonomous County

焉耆回族自治县

 172,861 

 45,786 

 39 

 45,825 

27%

0.05

 2,291 

Charchan (Qiemo) County

且末县

 69,464 

 50,754 

 3 

 50,757 

73%

0.3

 15,227 

Qaghilik (Ruo) County

若羌县

 34,020 

 13,328 

 5 

 13,333 

39%

0.1

 1,333 

Lopnur (Yuli) County

尉犁县

 103,143 

 33,752 

 15 

 33,767 

33%

0.1

 3,377 

Bortala  Prefectue

Bortala Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture

博尔塔拉蒙古自治州

 479,737 

 68,514 

 49,792 

 118,306

25%

 

 5,912 

Alashankou City

阿拉山口市

 1,716 

 40 

 24 

 64 

4%

0

 -   

Bole City 

博乐市

 258,002 

 44,749 

 21,022 

 65,771 

25%

0.05

 3,289 

Jinghe County

精河县

 144,689 

 20,090 

 14,047 

 34,137 

24%

0.05

 1,707 

Arishang (Wenquan) county

温泉县

 75,330 

 3,635 

 14,699 

 18,334 

24%

0.05

 917 

Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture

Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture

昌吉回族自治州

 1,392,762 

 68,144 

 146,831 

 214,975

15%

 

 10,709 

Changji City

昌吉市

 371,359 

 11,172 

 20,160 

 31,332 

8%

0

 -   

Fukang City

阜康市

 166,955 

 10,835 

 15,331 

 26,166 

16%

0.05

 1,308 

Qutubi (Hutubi) County

呼图壁县

 215,033 

 6,508 

 26,914 

 33,422 

16%

0.05

 1,671 

Jimsar County

吉木萨尔县

 138,466 

 7,801 

 12,129 

 19,930 

14%

0.05

 997 

Manas County

玛纳斯县

 174,206 

 6,224 

 19,306 

 25,530 

15%

0.05

 1,277 

Mori Kazakh Autonomous County

木垒哈萨克自治县

 88,159 

 5,165 

 25,375 

 30,540 

35%

0.1

 3,054 

Qitai County

奇台县

 238,584 

 20,439 

 27,616 

 48,055 

20%

0.05

 2,403 

Hotan Prefecture

Hotan Prefecture

和田地区

 2,324,287 

 2,248,113 

 113 

 2,248,226 

97%

 

 868,183

Chira (Cele) County

策勒县

 166,735

 163,705

 1 

 163,706

98%

0.4

 65,482 

Hotan City

和田市

 348,289 

 311,050 

 23 

 311,073

89%

0.3

 93,322 

Hotan County

和田县

 327,533 

 325,117 

 3 

 325,120

99%

0.4

 130,048

Lop (Luopu) County

洛浦县

 287,590

 282,513

 31 

 282,544

98%

0.4

 113,018

Niya (Minfeng) County

民丰县

 38,492 

 34,900 

 33 

 34,933 

91%

0.4

 13,973 

Karakash (Moyu) County

墨玉县

 577,391 

 563,606 

 4 

 563,610

98%

0.4

 225,444

Guma (Pishan) County

皮山县

 296,075

 290,016

 

 290,016

98%

0.4

 116,006

Keriye (Yutian) County

于田县

 282,182

 277,206

 18 

 277,224

98%

0.4

 110,890

Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture

Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture

伊犁哈萨克自治州

 4,696,322 

 819,701 

 1,257,003 

 2,076,704 

44%

 

 368,220

Qapqal (Xiba) County 

察布查尔锡伯自治县

 196,742 

 56,700 

 40,181 

 96,881 

49%

0.1

 9,688 

Tokkuztara (Gongliu) County

巩留县

 203,492 

 47,571 

 63,108 

 110,679

54%

0.2

 22,136 

Korgas (Huocheng) County

霍城县

 413,758 

 94,946 

 37,878 

 132,824

32%

0.1

 13,282 

Kuitun City

奎屯市

 289,397 

 1,018 

 5,222 

 6,240 

2%

0

 -   

Nilqa (Nilek) County

尼勒克县

 189,763 

 22,949 

 88,193 

 111,142

59%

0.2

 22,228 

Tekes (Tekesi) County

特克斯县

 174,883 

 20,010 

 76,904 

 96,914 

55%

0.2

 19,383 

Kunes (Xinyuan) County

新源县

 321,739 

 34,001 

 150,145 

 184,146

57%

0.2

 36,829 

Ghulja (Yining) City

伊宁市

 587,507 

 264,534 

 26,863 

 291,397

50%

0.1

 29,140 

Ghulja (Yining) County

伊宁县

 439,179 

 207,446 

 54,533 

 261,979

60%

0.2

 52,396 

Monggulküra (Zhaosu) County

昭苏县

 187,710 

 18,938 

 94,120 

 113,058

60%

0.2

 22,612 

Ili Prefecture directly under the county 

伊犁州直属县(市)

 3,004,170 

 768,113 

 637,147 

 1,405,260 

47%

0.1

 140,526

Karmay City

Karamay Prefectural City

克拉玛依市

 299,720 

 46,575 

 12,281 

 58,856 

20%

 

 2,943 

Baijiantan District (Karamay)

白碱滩区

 39,613 

 7,535 

 1,659 

 9,194 

23%

0.05

 460 

Dushanzi District

独山子区

 57,852 

 9,415 

 2,658 

 12,073 

21%

0.05

 604 

Karamay District

克拉玛依区

 200,078 

 29,259 

 7,912 

 37,171 

19%

0.05

 1,859 

Urho District

乌尔河区

 2,177 

 366 

 52 

 418 

19%

0.05

 21 

Kashgar Prefecture

Kashgar Prefecture

喀什地区

 4,499,158 

 4,140,255 

 211 

 4,140,466 

92%

 

 1,561,127 

Maralbeshi (Bachu) County

巴楚县

 382,186 

 363,488 

 8 

 363,496

95%

0.4

 145,398

Peyziwat (Jiashi) County

伽师县

 445,846 

 437,073 

 13 

 437,086

98%

0.4

 174,834

Kashgar City

喀什市

 628,302 

 534,848 

 98 

 534,946

85%

0.3

 160,484

Makit (Makati) County

麦盖提县

 272,010 

 225,608 

 2 

 225,610

83%

0.3

 67,683 

Yarkand (Shache) County

莎车县

 851,374 

 818,379 

 10 

 818,389

96%

0.4

 327,356

Konasheher (Shufu) County

疏附县

 277,877 

 271,556 

 7 

 271,563

98%

0.4

 108,625

Yengisheher (Shule) County

疏勒县

 377,029 

 350,301 

 4 

 350,305

93%

0.4

 140,122

Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County

塔什库尔干塔吉克自治县

 40,381 

 2,179 

 15 

 2,194 

5%

0

 -   

Qaghiliq (Yecheng) County

叶城县

 519,962 

 490,417 

 31 

 490,448

94%

0.4

 196,179

Yengisar (Yingjisha) County

英吉沙县

 302,542 

 297,290 

 14 

 297,304

98%

0.4

 118,922

Yopurgha (Yuepuhu) County

岳普湖县

 177,955 

 167,860 

 2 

 167,862

94%

0.4

 67,145 

Poskam (Zepu) County

泽普县

 223,694 

 181,256 

 7 

 181,263

81%

0.3

 54,379 

Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture

Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture

克孜勒苏柯尔克孜自治州

 596,064 

 389,437 

 172 

 389,609

65%

 

 114,026

Aheqi County

阿合奇县

 44,656 

 1,193 

 39 

 1,232 

3%

0

 -   

Akto County

阿克陶县

 221,526 

 161,687 

 29 

 161,716

73%

0.3

 48,515 

Atush City

阿图什市

 269,317 

 216,651 

 60 

 216,711

80%

0.3

 65,013 

Uluqqat (Wuqia) County

乌恰县

 60,565 

 9,906 

 44 

 9,950 

16%

0.05

 498 

Kumul (Hami)

Kumul Prefectural City

哈密地区

 616,711 

 109,072 

 55,550 

 164,622

27%

 

 12,315 

Barkol Kazakh Autonomous County

巴里坤哈萨克自治县

 104,459 

 142 

 38,189 

 38,331 

37%

0.1

 3,833 

Kumul (Hami) City

哈密市

 488,964 

 99,036 

 12,804 

 111,840

23%

0.05

 5,592 

Yiwu County

伊吾县

 23,288 

 9,894 

 4,557 

 14,451 

62%

0.2

 2,890 

Tacheng Prefecture

Tacheng Prefecture

塔城地区

 1,024,164 

 42,154 

 267,695 

 309,849

30%

 

 39,024 

Dorbiljin (Emin) County

额敏县

 212,926 

 8,080 

 76,084 

 84,164 

40%

0.1

 8,416 

Hoboksar Mongol Autonomous County (Tacheng)

和布克赛尔蒙古自治县

 55,046 

 1,079 

 15,533 

 16,612 

30%

0.1

 1,661 

Sawen (Shawan) County

沙湾县

 206,318 

 9,406 

 37,824 

 47,230 

23%

0.05

 2,362 

Tacheng City

塔城市

 168,742 

 5,081 

 27,731 

 32,812 

19%

0.05

 1,641 

Toli County

托里县

 96,873 

 1,220 

 68,958 

 70,178 

72%

0.3

 21,053 

Wusu City

乌苏市

 224,707 

 17,118 

 22,766 

 39,884 

18%

0.05

 1,994 

Qagantokay (Yumin) County

裕民县

 59,552 

 170 

 18,799 

 18,969 

32%

0.1

 1,897 

Turpan

Turpan Prefectural City

吐鲁番市

 651,853 

 489,135 

 355 

 489,490

75%

 

 146,847

Gaochang District

高昌区

 297,215 

 227,610 

 28 

 227,638

77%

0.3

 68,291 

Piqan (Shanshan) County

鄯善县

 230,598 

 165,086 

 39 

 165,125

72%

0.3

 49,538 

Toksun County

托克逊县

 124,040 

 96,439 

 288 

 96,727 

78%

0.3

 29,018 

XPCC

XPCC

自治区直辖县级市

 1,067,979 

 113,519

 3,710 

 117,229

11%

 

 20,209 

Aral City

阿拉尔市

 179,214

 6,036 

 28 

 6,064 

3%

0

 -   

Shihezi City

石河子市

 632,606

 6,380 

 3,583 

 9,963 

2%

0

 -   

Tumushuk

图木舒克市

 163,101

 101,042

 1 

 101,043

62%

0.2

 20,209 

Wujiaqu City

五家渠市

 93,058 

 61 

 98 

 159 

0%

0

 -   

Total 

 

 

 24,909,378 

 11,354,887 

 2,211,105 

 13,565,992 

54%

 

 3,928,790 

                       
 

 

 

 

Selected Satellite Images of Internment Camps

 

Moyu County, Kashgar Prefecture (coordinates: 39°21'33.1"N 75°51'50.0"E)

 

March 6, 2017

November 30, 2017

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*ugh5fwfZIOxFvC_QafrkRA.png

 

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*K26UL5FDhM35PAJZopSQoA.png

 

 Yengisheher (Shule) County, Kashgar Prefecture (39°25'54.0"N 76°03'20.7"E)

May 8, 2017

September 19, 2017 

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*2ngkr31Yi6otNYUhbCgqcg.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*gacRYlU37NQchzPkvMmlCg.png

 

Dabancheng, Urumqi City (43°23'01.8"N 88°17'18.2"E)

July 11, 2015

April 27, 2018

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*P13DjJn27sa9TtLXsN018Q.png

 

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*wlWeWyvfMsyAe7q2aO6iHg.png

 

Akto County, Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture (39°08'52.5"N 75°57'08.0"E)

November 30, 2017

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*fV9Rh1T-49INpJmz-XT-Lw.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karakash County, Hotan Prefecture (37°06'42.7"N 79°38'30.9"E)

March 2, 2016

January 20, 2018 

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*HM1rkzX1LsS7U9twtT3h3A.png

 

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*B7Mw7WhIHpMmSZqqE4ya6A.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Dearden, Lizze. 2016. “China bans parents from 'luring children into religion' in Muslim province.” The Independent, October 17. Available at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/islam-muslims-in-china-law...

 

Dearden Lizzie. 2017. “China Bans Burqas and 'abnormal' Beards in Muslim Province.”  The Independent. March 30. Available at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-burqa-abnormal-beards-ban-muslim-province-xinjiang-veils-province-extremism-crackdown-freedom-a7657826.html

 

Harris, Rachel. 2017. “Uyghur Dutar King detained in China.” Free Muse, November 1. Available at https://freemuse.org/news/uyghur-dutar-king-detained-in-china/

 

Harris, Rachel. 2018. “Uyghur Pop Star detained in China.” Free Muse, June 11. Available at https://freemuse.org/news/uyghur-pop-star-detained-in-china/

 

Hoja, Gulchekre, 2018. “Türkiyedin yéqinda ürümchige qaytqan yene bir Uyghur oqughuchi ghayib.” Radio Free Asia, February 5. Available at https://www.rfa.org/uyghur/xewerler/kishilik-hoquq/turkiyedin-qaytqan-oqughuchi-ghayip-02052018234821.html?encoding=latin

 

Hoshur, Shohret. 2017. “Uyghurs in Xinjiang Re-Education Camps Forced to Express Remorse Over Travel Abroad." Radio Free Asia, October 13. Available at https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/camps-10132017150431.html

 

Hoshur, Shohret. 2018. “Amanliq mudiri: "Memettursun haji tarawa namizini kem oqughanliqi üchün tutuldi." Radio Free Asia, January 28. Available at https://www.rfa.org/uyghur/xewerler/qanun/tutqun-karxanichi-01082018163530.html%3Fencoding=latin

 

Hoshur, Shohret and Seytoff, Alim, 2018. “Uyghur Muslim Scholar Dies in Chinese Police Custody." Radio Free Asia, January 29. Available at https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/scholar-death-01292018180427.html

 

Hoshur, Shohret. 2018. “Uyghur Teenager Dies in Custody at Political Re-Education Camp." Radio Free Asia, March 14. Available at https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/teenager-03142018154926.html

 

Hoshur, Shohret. 2018. “Xinjiang Authorities Targeting Uyghurs Under 40 for Re-Education Camps." Radio Free Asia, March 22. Available at https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/1980-03222018155500.html

 

Hoshur, Shohret. 2018. “Xinjiang Authorities Detain Uyghur Pro Footballer for ‘Visiting Foreign Countries’." Radio Free Asia. April 13. Available at https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/footballer-04132018162312.html

 

Human Rights Watch. 2018. “China: Big Data Fuels Crackdown in Minority Region, Predictive Policing Program Flags Individuals for Investigations, Detentions.” February 26. Available at https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/02/26/china-big-data-fuels-crackdown-minority-region

Kawashima, Shin. 2018. “The Risks of One Belt, One Road for China’s Neighbors.” The Diplomat, April 23. Available athttps://thediplomat.com/2018/04/the-risks-of-one-belt-one-road-for-chinas-neighbors/

Long, Qiao. 2017. “China Holds Ethnic Kazakh Students For Praying, Islamic Clothing, Overseas Study,” Radio Free Asia, August 31. Available at https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/china-holds-ethnic-kazakh-students-for-praying-islamic-clothing-overseas-study-08312017114308.html

Long, Qiao. 2017. “China Carries Out 'Mass Detentions' of Ethnic Kazakhs in Xinjiang.” Radio Free Asia, November 13. Available at https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/kazaks-arrests-11132017130345.html

 

Martina, Michael. 2017. “China Offers Big Anti-terror Rewards in Xinjiang.” Reuters, February 22. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-xinjiang-idUSKBN1610Z6

Mudie Luisetta. 2016. “China Recalls Passports Across Xinjiang Amid Ongoing Security Crackdown.” Radio Free Asia, October 20. Available at https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/xinjiang-passports-10202016144107.html

 

Qiang, Fu. 2015. “Kashgar and Tiantian economic development flourish.” Xinjiang Daily, September 17. Available at http://cpc.people.com.cn/n/2015/0917/c398213-27598576.html

 

Roberts, Sean R. (2018) The biopolitics of China’s “war on terror” and the exclusion of the Uyghurs, Critical Asian Studies, 50:2, 232-258, DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2018.1454111

 

Roberts, Sean R. 2004. “A Land of Borderlands: Implications of Xinjiang’s Trans-Border Interactions.” In Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderlands, edited by S. Frederick Starr, 216–237. New York, NY: ME Sharpe

 

Rogin, Josh. 2018. “Ethnic Cleansing makes a comeback - in China.” The Washington Post, August 2. Available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/ethnic-cleansing-makes-a-comeback--in-china/2018/08/02/55f73fa2-9691-11e8-810c-5fa705927d54_story.html?utm_term=.17f8fcf216b2

 

Special Correspondent. 2018. “A Summer Vacation in China’s Muslim Gulag.” February 28, Foreign Policy. Available at 

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/02/28/a-summer-vacation-in-chinas-muslim-gulag/

 

Shih, Gerry. 2017. “Thousands Disappear as China Polices Thought.” Chicago Tribune, December 17. Available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-china- uighur-disappearances-20171217-story.html.

 

The Guardian. 2011. “China Puts Urumqi under ‘Full Surveillance’.” January 25. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jan/25/china-urumqi-under-full- surveillance.

 

Xu, Vicky Xiuzhong and Xiao Bang. 2018 “China's Social Credit System seeks to assign citizens scores, engineer social behavior.” ABC News, April 1. Available at 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-31/chinas-social-credit-system-punishes-untrustworthy-citizens/9596204

 

XUAR Government, 2017 “Objectives and Goals of "de-extreme" education transformation work” Xinjiang Harmonious Society Journal, June. Available at http://www.doc88.com/p-2921386725182.html

 

Zhang, Shawn. 2018 “List of Re-Education Camps in Xinjiang.” May 20. Medium. Available at https://medium.com/@shawnwzhang/list-of-re-education-camps-in-xinjiang-%E6%96%B0%E7%96%86%E5%86%8D%E6%95%99%E8%82%B2%E9%9B%86%E4%B8%AD%E8%90%A5%E5%88%97%E8%A1%A8-99720372419c

 

Zens, Adrian. 2018. “New Evidence For China's Political Re-education Campaign in Xinjiang” The Jamestown Foundation, May 15. Available at https://jamestown.org/program/evidence-for-chinas-political-re-education-campaign-in-xinjiang/




[1]To do this, Chinese authorities are fast-tracking its collection of DNA from residents, asking all who apply for passports for genetic samples while creating an infrastructure for the forcible collection of DNA from all who live in the region.

[2]Detention centers are used to hold individuals awaiting authorities’ decision on whether to be sent to PTE camp or to prison

[3]Fro example, In September 2017, RFA reported that police in Arshang (in Chinese, Wenquan) County of Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture detained an unknown number of local people including farmers, herders, students and government officials, who had relatives living across the border in Kazakhstan, and were detained for the alleged offense of "discussion of how to emigrate to Kazakhstan on group chat."

 

[4]March 2018: Local officials in Bayanday’s No.3 Village - – where 60 percent of residents are Uyghurs – told RFA Uyghur Service that his office has been instructed to send “10 percent” of the 4,131 residents living in 1,073 households under its supervision to concentration camps to be “re-educated.”

[5]For example, Hotan City’s dedicated “de-extremification education center” was reported to hold up to 3,000 detainee whose thinking was “deeply” affected by “religious extremism.” 

[6]The repression-violence-repression cycle was described in detail by Sean Roberts in his most recent article on the issue entitled “The Biopolitics of China’s War on Terror and the Exclusion of the Uyghurs.”