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.
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