Category Archives: Uncategorized

U.N. says it has credible reports that China holds million Uighurs in secret camps

A police patrol walk in front of the Id Kah Mosque in the old city of Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

GENEVA (Reuters) – A United Nations human rights panel said on Friday that it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China are held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.”

Gay McDougall, a member of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, cited estimates that 2 million Uighurs and Muslim minorities were forced into “political camps for indoctrination” in the western Xinjiang autonomous region.

more

Tens of Thousands of Xinjiang’s Kuchar County Residents Held in Political ‘Re-Education Camps’

More than 45,000 residents of a mostly Uyghur-populated county in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are being held in three main political “re-education camps,” according to a local official, who said the facilities are guarded by armed personnel.

Beginning in April 2017, Uyghurs accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas have been jailed or detained in political re-education camps throughout the XUAR, where members of the ethnic group have long complained of pervasive discrimination, religious repression, and cultural suppression under Chinese rule.

A staffer at the Kuchar (in Chinese, Kuche) county police department in the XUAR’s Aksu (Akesu) prefecture recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service that three camps housing most of the county’s detainees are located in the Yengisher district of the county seat—about 10 kilometers (six miles) from Kuchar city center.

“I believe it is more than 45,000 … [or] slightly less than 10 percent [of the population],” the staffer said, speaking on condition of anonymity, when asked how many residents of Kuchar county are currently held in the camps.

more

‘No Releases’ of Thousands Held For Years in Xinjiang Township Political ‘Re-education Camps’


As many as 6,000 residents of the mostly Uyghur-populated township of Haniqatam in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have been held in political “re-education camps” for as long as two years, according to a local official.

Beginning in April 2017, Uyghurs accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas have been jailed or detained in political re-education camps throughout the XUAR, where members of the ethnic group have long complained of pervasive discrimination, religious repression, and cultural suppression under Chinese rule.

A staffer at Haniqatam township’s No. 7 village police station, in Aksu (in Chinese, Akesu) prefecture’s Kuchar (Kuche) county, recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service that no one in his township’s 26 villages had been released from the camps in the nearly two years since authorities began detaining them.

“No one has been released from the re-education camps yet,” the staffer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The earliest people sent for re-education went a year-and-a-half to two years ago.”

“Approximately 5,000 to 6,000” residents of Haniqatam are currently held in the camps, he said, adding that “the ratio of residents sent to camps from each village is more or less the same” based on the population size of the area.

more

Marco Rubio: ‘These are crazy things… this is sick,’ senator says on China’s treatment of Uighurs

Survey: Three Million, Mostly Uyghurs, in Some Form of Political ‘Re-Education’ in Xinjiang

A security officer holding a shield and baton guards a security post leading into a center believed to be used for re-education in Korla, Nov. 2, 2017.

Up to 3 million residents of northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), especially ethnic Uyghurs, may have been detained in political “re-education camps” or forced to attend “education sessions” for “de-radicalization” as of June, rights groups said Friday.

Beginning in April 2017, Uyghurs accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas have been jailed or detained in political re-education camps throughout the XUAR, where members of the ethnic group have long complained of pervasive discrimination, religious repression, and cultural suppression under Chinese rule.

more

China: Massive Numbers of Uyghurs & Other Ethnic Minorities Forced into Re-education Programs

Extrajudicial Detention & Arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty in Xinjiang

Note: On August 10 & 13, 2018, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) will review China’s implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. China signed and ratified the Convention in 1981. The release below is based on a submission to the Committee from CHRD and a partner NGO, Equal Rights Initiative, highlighting major concerns over extrajudicial detention, including Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in re-education camps and China’s failure to implement Article 5 (a)(b)(d) of the Convention.

(Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders & Equal Rights Initiative – August 3, 2018) – The number of Xinjiang residents, especially ethnic Uyghurs, who are either detained in re-education camps or forced to attend day/evening “education sessions” for “de-radicalization” and indoctrination purposes in Xinjiang, may have possibly reached as high as a combined total of two to three million by June 2018, according to interviews conducted and data gathered by two NGOs, CHRD and Equal Rights Initiative.

Our findings show that, in the villages of Southern Xinjiang, about 660,000 rural residents of ethnic Uyghur background may have been taken away from their homes and detained in re-education camps, while another up to 1.3 million may have been forced to attend mandatory day or evening re-education sessions in locations in their villages or town centers, amounting to a total of about 2 million South Xinjiang villagers in these two types of “re-education” programs. The total number for Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR or Xinjiang) as a whole, including other ethnic minorities and city residents, is certainly higher.

more

US urged to sanction Chinese officials overseeing sweeping crackdown in Muslim region

The Chinese official overseeing a sweeping security crackdown in China’s far west Xinjiang region should be targeted in potential sanctions, a US congressional commission has heard.

Chen Quanguo. Photo: China Gov’t.

Since hardline official Chen Quanguo was transferred from Tibet to govern China’s Muslim region in August 2016, he has overseen the construction of a network of extrajudicial internment camps. He has also stepped up surveillance of residents by using advanced technology as well as increasing police presence, and passed severe regulations to curtail religious and cultural expression.

more

Image

Protected:

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

China: Release the Thousands of Uyghur Prisoners of Influence

Sign this petition here
 
Torchlight Uyghur Group

Contact us:

   mesheluyghur@gmail.com
   @torch_uyghur
   https://www.facebook.com/torchuyghur

This Petition Is Also Available In The Following Languages: Turkish (Turkçe)German (Deutsch),  FrenchArabic,  RussianSpanish (Español)UyghurSlawyan (Kiril), Japanese

February 3,  2018

We stated in our first 2 petitions that more than 1 million Uyghurs, or more than 10% of the Uyghur population living in East Turkestan (refer to the 2010 Chinese census) are currently being held illegally in jails, Nazi-style political “re-education” concentration camps and orphanages (http://chn.ge/2CAIJFRhttp://chn.ge/2Dw8YAU ).  The arrest of the Uyghurs in large numbers has been going on for a long time, but it intensified since July 2009, after the July 5th massacre that took place in Urumchi, the capital of East Turkestan, and has reached to a record level since Chen Quan-guo took office as the Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in East Turkestan.  The Uyghur detainees came from all spans of life, as exemplified in our recent report titled “Political Persecution of the Uyghurs — Brief Description of Some Individual Cases” (http://freedomsherald.org/ET/unb/  Among them, there is a special category of people, namely, prominent Uyghurs or Uyghurs of influence.  They represent a group of people in various areas of life and profession, who have prominent influence among the Uyghurs, or play leading roles in the Uyghur society or in their own fields of profession, such as intellectuals, writers, lecturers, poets, website owners and administrators, business owners, entrepreneurs, leading community activists, actors-actresses, religious figures, sports professionals, and even some rich people. Therefore, they can be called “the Uyghur prisoners of influence”.  They are very similar to the “prisoners of conscience” that are common to Han Chinese and the other ethnic groups in China, including the Uyghurs.  But the Uyghur prisoners of influence were jailed or detained in concentration camps for a different reason, that is, for being famous and/or influential among their own community or in their own professional fields. If we imagine the whole Uyghur population as a person, these prisoners of influence can be considered as his/her head, and the Chinese government is now slowly cutting the head off.

Here is an article published on 2 Feb. 2018 in “New York Times” related to the above issue:

What It’s Like to Live in a Surveillance State

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/opinion/china-uighurs-xinjiang.html?referer=http://m.facebook.com

Recently, several media outlets have reported on the arrests of several prominent Uyghurs and leading Uyghur intellectuals.  They include Halmurat Ghopur (a leading intellectual), Abdurehim Heyit (a famous singer and musician), Yasinjan Moydin (a businessman and restaurant owner; got ill in a jail, and recently died in a hospital), Ahmatjan Heyder (a religious figure; got released from a jail after getting seriously ill, but died shortly thereafter), Muhammed Salih (a religious leader and scholar; he did the modern translation of the Holy Quran from Arabic to Uyghur language; he was taken into a concentration camp recently, and died on Jan. 24 at 82. His two daughters and a son-in-law also got arrested), Hebibullah Tohti (returned from Egypt after getting a doctor’s degree, and sentenced to a 10-years prison term shortly thereafter), four wealthiest Uyghurs in Kashgar, and some Uyghurs who studied abroad.  The charges mentioned included “having nationalist tendencies”, “acts against the state”, “having extremist or politically incorrect views”, “being two-faced” and “undertaking unapproved, private hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)”. Some of such reports can be found at http://freedomsherald.org/ET/unb/  Previously, the jailing of the Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti received wide coverage in the international media.  However, the most cases in such nature still remain unnoticed and unreported, even though such action of the Chinese government is having devastating impact on the Uyghur society and on the lives of all the Uyghur people in East Turkestan and abroad.

We have obtained information on many more cases of the arrested and the detained influential and/or prominent Uyghurs from people who fled China recently, but we restrained ourselves from presenting such cases in this petition.  The reason is, the Chinese government is currently using one of their ancient tactics in oppressing the whole Uyghur population, namely, “not only cut the grass, but also destroy the roots” (????).  Based on this tactic, if the Chinese government suspects the loyalty of an Uyghur on themselves, they not only arrest and in some cases kill with some fake charges that person, but also they do the same to his/her extended family members.  So it is very common that a lot of Uyghur families have lost more than 10 extended family members to jails, concentration camps and orphanages.  Several examples of such cases are presented in the above report.

We have learned that the Chinese government has issued “arrest schedules”, “look-up tables” and printed verdicts with two blank spaces, the first for the name and the second for the jail time of the future “criminals”, to local government officials and airport administrators.  These documents are issued from the top at the provincial government level down to the heads of all villages.  According to such directives, the Uyghurs who “committed” crimes are divided into 3 categories: (1) 6 months to 3 years jail term (?? in Chinese). People belonging to this category are ordinary, innocent ones who were arrested to fill some quota came down from the top.  For example, in 2017, Urumchi police issued an order to all its branches to arrest 3000 Uyghurs and Kazakhs in this category within a week.  This was reported by the Radio-Free Asia (USA).  (2) 7 – 10 years jail term (??).  It is for people who have relatives abroad, who were found to have stored forbidden contents in their smartphones, and activists.  (3) 10 – 15 years jail term (??). It is for people who returned from abroad, who were forcibly returned from abroad, “political criminals”, and people with religious knowledge.  When “catching” an Uyghur “criminal”, a local government official first determines which category that “criminal” belongs to, fills out a pre-printed verdict mentioned above, and gives that verdict to that “criminal” right at the spot.

For example, since 2016 the CCP government in East Turkestan pressured the parents of the Uyghur students studying in different parts of the world, often using jail terms as a threat.  As a result, some unknown number of Uyghur students (the number is in the thousands in our estimate) went back to East Turkestan to save their parents from trouble.  However, many of those students were sentenced to 3 – 7 years of jail terms and were taken to jails directly from the Urumchi airport upon their return.  In many cases their parents had never seen them after returning from abroad.  They just simply disappeared in East Turkestan or somewhere else in China.

According to the accounts of a close friend who talked to us, Behtiyar, an Uyghur man in his 20s, decided to visit his parents and other relatives in Kashgar in the summer of 2016. Because restrictions and punishments are much more severe in Kashgar than in Urumchi, he decided to protect himself from all the potential troubles by having his smartphone “cleaned up” in a police “black market” in Urumchi.  The police servicemen there asked him to pay 500 Yuan (more than $80) for the service.  He paid them and thought he had made his smartphone “safe” to travel to Kashgar.  He was thoroughly checked after he got off the airplane in Kashgar, including his smartphone.  At that time, one of the police officers told him that he found prohibited contents in Behtiyar’s phone, including a photo of Turkish president Erdogan and another photo of a Turkish national flag. But Behtiyar explained to them what he did in Urumchi before starting this trip.  However, they told him that they can retrieve all the deleted contents from a smartphone.  The police called Behtiyar’s parents and told them that they need to pay the police 30,000 Yuan (about $5,000) to get their son back, otherwise their son will be jailed.  It took 3 days for Behtiyar’s parents to come up with such money. When they finally came to the airport with the money, the police told them that their son had been arrested, given a 7-year prison term and sent to a jail whose location was unknown to them.  Behtiyar was simply disappeared this way. The person who told us the above real story also told us that one prohibited content found in someone’s smart phone earns him or her a minimum 7-year jail term.  That is consistent with Bahtiyar’s 7-years prison term.

Behtiyar is not a prominent Uyghur nor a leading intellectual.  He is just an average Uyghur.  But we told the above story so that you would understand how a jail term is now easily handed out to an innocent Uyghur in East Turkestan.

There was a young Uyghur bodybuilder in southern East Turkestan.  He was well-known to the Uyghur youth with his well-developed and very good-looking body.  He is good in bodybuilding but not known in anything else.  However, the Chinese government targeted him as a suspect because of his influence among the young Uyghur people.  One day the police came up with a fake crime for him and threw him in a jail with a 5-year prison term.  In East Turkestan, jailing an influential Uyghur figure is as simple as that. That is, being prominent or being influential among the Uyghurs is a serious crime in East Turkestan, and thousands of innocent Uyghurs were jailed and detained for such “crime”.  That is part of the reasons why more than 1 million young and adult Uyghurs are currently being held either in jails or in concentration camps, and their small children are sent to orphanages.

The English-language program of the Voice of America (VOA) reported that “Recently, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has drawn attention to increased restrictions on the ability of Uighurs in China to express and practice their religion. The State Department’s annual Human Rights Report also has highlighted repression of Uighurs’ freedoms of speech, movement, association, and assembly.” We, the Torchlight Uyghur group, thank the US government, as well as the governments of the other countries and various international organizations for their support towards the Uyghur people. In the mean time, we appeal to the United Nations, foreign governments, and other international human rights and humanitarian organizations to demand the Chinese government to unconditionally release those thousands of Uyghur prisoners of influence.

We, the Uyghurs, are powerless and helpless at the moment.  As such, we cannot defend ourselves against the Chinese government’s atrocities and cannot fight this battle for our survival alone.  We need the support of the global community.  If tens of thousands of people from around the world sign our petition, it may be possible that the United Nations will make a commitment and will act to stop the tragedy that the Uyghur people are facing today.

Please join us in our fight to end the appalling atrocities happening in East Turkestan. Please sign and share this petition. Thank you!

China Detains Uyghurs in Nazi Style Camps

Torchlight Uyghur Group
Email: mesheluyghur@gmail.com
Twitter: @torch_uyghur
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/torchlight.uyghur.3

Xinjiang Party Secretary Chen Quanguo made a name for himself with his repressive style of rule as party secretary of Tibet from 2011 to 2016. Since his transfer to the Uyghur region in August this year, his tactics have become only more brutal.

Since taking the reins in Xinjiang, Quanguo has launched new polices targeting the religious freedom and cultural identity of the Uyghurs and intensified existing policies like the Communist Party’s “strike hard” campaign against Uyghur.

Chen Quanguo effectively considers all Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang as political threats and “undependable” because of their distinct religious and ethnic identities. The political re-education camps that have popped up in almost every district of Xinjiang that currently detain tens of thousands of Uyghurs are the brainchild of 62-year-old Quanguo. His strike even harder approach in Xinjiang may have helped secure his current seat on the CCP’s 19th Politburo, further cementing his influence in the regime.

In March, the Xinjiang CCP issued the ?????????????? (Regulation on Counterextremism in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region). The regulation requires a massive campaign against politically “untrustworthy” and “incorrect” people plagued by “ideological illness” because of their religious and national identities. The “re-education” camp that detain people from almost every Uyghur city are part of Quanguo’s effort to cure Uyghurs of that “ideological illness” that he sees as their religious and ethnic identity so that they may be more easily assimilated and controlled.

The Chinese government often embellishes its brutal campaigns against Uyghurs with seemingly benign labels. The party has used various politically correct names for the re-education camps, including ???????? (Education and Transformation Centers), Career Development Centers, Professional Education Schools, Socialism Training Schools, and Counter-extremism Training Schools.

An official explained the frequent change in labeling, saying “obviously, the reason or changing the name is to avoid giving others a bad impression“.

CCP Propaganda about the “re-education” camps

Even when the rest of the world wasn’t sure about the existence of the re-education camps, government agencies in Xinjiang were broadcasting propaganda to convince the public of the important role of the camps in maintaining stability in the region. An audio broadcast by the CCP Propaganda Department of Xinjiang has a male Uyghur announcer explain the camps:

Going to a re-education and transformation center is a free opportunity for the ideologically infected to receive treatment and cure their disease. Young friends, how are you? I am very pleased to share my views on this topic. Following the recent strengthening of the strike hard campaign, some of the people in Xinjiang – mainly younger people – have been sent to re-education and transformation centers. But their parents, relatives, and even the majority of Uyghurs don’t know about the re-education and transformation centers and worry about it. Today, we’ll answer the questions you’ve been wondering about.

  1. The people sent to the re-education and transformation center are actually ideologically diseased people infected with ideas of religious extremism and violent terrorism – so they have to be treated.
  2. In order to cure ideologically diseased people in time and guarantee the effectiveness of the treatment, the CCP of Xinjiang decided to set up re-education and transformation camps in every prefecture, city and county all over Xinjiang. The government has organized special officials to teach the people the laws and regulations of the country and the autonomous region, the ethnic and religious policies, various beneficial party policies, and the state language – Chinese.

First, the government will clarify what is wrong and what is right, what they should do and what they should not do. The government assures the people that it will exterminate any impact of religious extremism and violent ideas. It will ensure that those who are ideologically infected will regain their ideological health and return to their homes to reunite with their family members after their minds have been cleaned from harmful ideas.

Second, an ideological illness is as dangerous as physical illness. So it must also be cured at once. We should never postpone the treatment of ideological illness. Otherwise it would deteriorate and threaten our lives. Otherwise we won’t have even enough time to regret. Some may say

“I only had a one-time experience of listening to or watching a religious preaching or violent extremism audio or video. I recognized my wrong and won’t listen to or watch it again. I have so many important things to do, so can I not go to the re-education and transformation center?”.

Some may say the stay at the re-education and transformation center is too long, can’t it be shorter? The answer to those questions are NO. An infection of religious and violent extremism is serious. If anyone escapes from treatment, he will throw himself and society in danger.

Re-education and transformation centers are special hospitals to cure ideological illnesses. The hospital is free, and food and housing is provided. The government built new re-education centers all over Xinjiang to provide the conditions to educate and change the people. The government has appointed a lot of key officials as doctors to these hospitals to treat ideological illness.

Family members of re-educated people, don’t worry. Nobody will be left hungry at the re-education centers. There is no cold, no labor, but there is rare and free opportunity for people to be trained so that they may change. The government’s guarantees to re-educate the people and after that they will live normal lives like others.

The audio is available through various government propaganda offices in Xinjiang.

Targets: The detainees at the camps

According to local officials, the superior agencies have ordered that half of the Uyghur populations in the south be detained if they exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Ideological illness
  • Politically incorrect views
  • Extremist ideas
  • Harboring extremist and politically incorrect views
  • Recent travel abroad

“Five kinds of suspicious people have been detained and sent to re-education camps – people who throw away their mobile phone’s SIM card or do not use their mobile phone after registering it; former prisoners; blacklisted people; suspicious people who have some fundamental religious sentiment; and the people who have relatives abroad,” a female police officer from far western Xinjiang told RFA.

Chinese auhtorities have formed an official grading standard using those abstract notions to determine their targets. Uyghurs are scored according to their religious background, political views, and other factors. Those who get a score under 60 are considered dangerous and are sent to the camps.

Mainly Uyghurs

The majority of those targeted are Uyghurs. Other Turkic minorities have also been targeted, but no Han Chinese have been the subject of China’s “re-education” efforts in Xinjiang. Earlier this month, local officials in Xinjiang told RFA that thousands of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities – including Kyrgyz and Kazakhs – are being held in re-education camps without contact with their families under a policy designed to counter extremism in the region.

Sources believe there are virtually no ethnic Han Chinese held in the Xinjiang re-education camps, despite Han Chinese making up the majority of Xinjiang’s population. Those sources also indicate that the number of detainees in southern Xinjiang – where there are higher concentrations of Uyghurs – significantly exceed that of the northern part of the region.

The “politically unreliable”

“The Chinese authorities are holding people at these ‘political education’ centers not because they have committed any crimes, but because they deem them politically unreliable”.

Since April,  Uyghurs who have traveled abroad have been accused of harboring “extremist” and “politically incorrect” have been detained in re-education camps throughout Xinjiang until they admit that they committed a “wrong” by leaving the country.

“I learned through my work that among the detainees [from my district] 13 people were held for traveling abroad with a tourist company, “ said ___. “One person had gone on hajj to Mecca two years ago, and two others had studied in Turkey for a short time before returning home”.

Believers

Anyone with a religious background may be targeted, including religious teachers, imams, and youth who learn to practice their religion at home..

One official from Aksaray’s Number Two village in Hotan said that officers are to  “target people who are religious – for example younger men who sport beards”

A family of four Uyghurs –including two children – were taken to a political education facility in western Xinjiang in April for traveling abroad for business and for the Hajj, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Xinjiang authorities also imprisoned an Uyghur man after accusing him of “religious extremism” for scolding his son for drinking alcohol.

Life inside the camps

Those detained in the camps are treated like criminals and are not free to see their family members. They are interrogated by police and face imprisonment if they do not comply with the rules and regulations of the camp. And they have no legal protections.

Those who have actual physical illnesses are kept inside the camps instead of being sent to hospitals. The local authorities keep them busy with labor and aren’t concerned about the needs of the people, aside from the very basic necessities like food and sleep. Some elderly Uyghurs and children have died because they were left without the care of their loved ones who were sent to the camps.

Those at the camp are forced to learn CCP ideology. The government has set up classrooms in addition to interrogation rooms and barracks inside the camps. The instructors and other staff, like the “students” at these “re-education” camps who are essentially prisoners, live inside the camp and share the same courtyard with the detainees. The centers’ main gates are guarded 24 hours a day and instructors are required to obtain permission before leaving the facility.

Those who fail to actively learn the political ideology force fed to them at the camp face imprisonment. It’s these kinds of extreme measures that suggest the true aim of the camps are not to educate as much as it is to strip the detainees of their Uyghur identity and force them to accept a Chinese identity.

“During the re-education, they will say ‘Yes, it was a mistake to travel abroad, when the Party and government have created such a high living standard in our own country; we were ungrateful – we were ungrateful when we decided to go elsewhere.”

One official was instructed during a web conference in June that 80 percent of those arrested in re-education camps were to be “severely punished,” including those with “extreme views.”

Detentions increase

While the number of those detained cannot be adequately confirmed, almost all sources indicate mass detentions and extrajudicial imprisonment are becoming the norm in Xinjiang. RFA has reported that nearly half of the Uyghurs in Hotan have been targeted for re-education camps.

The camps in Ghulja county , Ili Kazakh prefecture and Korla City hold at least 3600 detainees each, local officials told RFA’s Uyghur Service. Those camps are run under the label of “career development centers” to mask their true nature.

According to one of the teachers in a re-education camp in Ghulja City, there are five camps in a just one of Ghulja’s countries – Turpanyuzi.

“There are 30 to 50 students in each class, so I estimate the total number of people who are undertaking the re-education program [across the county] to be at least 1,500.”

Sources in Bayin’gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture’s Korla city, where Uyghurs have previously protested house raids during China’s “strike hard” anti-terrorism campaigns, told RFA that the municipality has three re-education camps with at least 2,100 detainees. A “socialism institute” in the municipality detains more than 40 religious figures.

A Kazakh source close to the Urumqi police department said that “they have to detain 3000 Kazakhs or Uyghurs per week.”

An uncertain future in the camps

We have been unable to reach anyone who has been released from these camps. Some officials told RFA “students are not allowed to leave the camp until they have completed the full program, but the length of the training is unclear – the rules only say that the program is complete once a satisfactory level has been achieved.”

“I have been teaching for the last six months, but there is no one in my class who has completed the course and no one knows when the training will end.”

“Nobody knows how long the ‘closed education’ lasts. First of all, the detainees are interrogated by the police, and then they are sent to different education camps.”

“A few people were released after two to three months. But most detainees sent to the camps remain indefinitely.”? ?

Rights Organizations Call China to release detainees

Most  observers believe that The Chinese government’s aim is to streamline ideology in an area it perceives to be troubled by radical violence and Uyghur nationalist rights movements and perhaps even erase the western region’s connections with outside world.

Frances Eve, researcher at Chinese Human Rights Defenders, the ramped up suppression in Xinjiang will likely continue past the Party Congress’s because it appears Chen was brought to Xinjiang to replicate the heavy-handed tactics he used in Tibet.

<<Using this sledgehammer approach to counter-terrorism and ethnic-minority policy making is extremely misguided. It violates the civil and political rights of ethnic Uyghurs and does nothing to address the serious economic and social gaps between Han Chinese [the national majority] and Uyghurs,”

The lack of a response from the international community is somewhat surprising in the face of mounting evidence of the re-education camps.

“The U.N. can request the Chinese government allow its independent special experts or the High Commissioner on Human Rights to visit the region, and governments should put more pressure on China to allow journalists and other groups into the region to independently report on the situation,”

The New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch called on the Chinese government to free the thousands of Xinjiang people placed in the camps since April 2017 and close them down.

“The Chinese authorities are holding people at these ‘political education’ centers not because they have committed any crimes, but because they deem them politically unreliable,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.

“It is fair to say that the Chinese government has heightened the repression and discrimination against a particular ethnic group to an extent that seems quite unprecedented,” Maya Wang, Senior Researcher, Asia Division at HRW (21)

“The government has provided no credible reasons for holding these people and should free them immediately,” she added, in an appeal published by Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch said the newly unfolding Xinjiang program called to mind the compulsory ‘re-education’ of hundreds of Tibetans following their return from a religious gathering called the Kalachakra Initiation in India in December 2012 , when Chen Quanguo was Tibet’s Communist Party secretary.

The Xinjiang political education detention centers — where inmates who have not broken any laws are detained extrajudicially, indefinitely and without the knowledge of their families – run contrary to China’s constitution and violate international human rights law, Human Rights Watch noted.