China is putting muslims in so-called interment camps (concentration camps). They are forced to denounce Islam, adopt atheism and pledge alliance to the Chinese state. Activist Aydin Anwar on Chinese genocide and interment of Muslims in a movie from NowThis.
This issue is something most of us never heard about. We also thought it was fake news until we started our own research. The results are utterly shocking. China is actually building concentration camps to brainwash muslim people.
An investigation by Reuters has revealed a massive expansion of internment camps for hundreds of thousands of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province. Beijing says they are there for “rehabilitation,” but human rights groups say the camps are used for political brainwashing of innocent people.
Up to one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are believed to be held in extra-legal detention in Xinjiang, according to previous UN estimates, prompting an international outcry.
China has described the camps as ‘professional vocational training institutions’ used to counter terrorism while improving employment opportunities for citizens guilty of minor offences.
However, Uighur activists believe that up to three million people have been detained in the camps, according to non-governmental organisation Amnesty International. There are approximately 12 million Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty, told MailOnline they haven’t seen this many people detained in camps in recent Chinese history.
‘The camps are similar to the wartime concentration camps, the scale is comparable and the repressive environment is similar,’ he said.
‘There are brainwashing political classes in the camps, where people are beaten up if they don’t follow orders. The overall atmosphere is very repressive,’ he added, citing accounts from ex-detainees.
An AFP report in October revealed that thousands of guards at the camps were equipped with tear gas, Tasers, stun guns and spiked clubs, according to publicly available government documents.
The centres should ‘teach like a school, be managed like the military, and be defended like a prison’, said one document, quoting Xinjiang’s party secretary Chen Quanguo.
Break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins
To build new, better Chinese citizens, a document argued, the centres must first ‘break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins’.
In previous reports, others have said they were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, as well as denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the ruling Communist Party.
They also found themselves incarcerated for transgressions such as wearing long beards and face veils or sharing Islamic holiday greetings on social media, a process that echoes the decades of brutal thought reform under Mao Zedong.
After undergoing indoctrination at the camps, detainees are sent to the new factories built inside or near the internment camps in an emerging system of forced labour, according to the New York Times.
Satellite imagery suggests that production lines are being built inside some internment camps. Another image of a camp featured in state television broadcast show 10 to 12 large buildings with a design commonly used for factories, according to the report.
Commercial registration records show several companies including a printing factory, a noodle factory and at least two clothing and textile manufacturers were established at addresses inside interment camps.
A Turkish researcher told The New York Times that the detainees ‘provide free or low-cost forced labour for these factories,’ based on the various inmate accounts he has collected through interviewing their relatives.
Inmates told their relatives that they were forced to make clothes under tough working conditions and earned low wages, according to Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights, an organisation in Kazakhstan that helps ethnic Kazakhs who have left neighboring Xinjiang.
One detainee was sent from a camp to work in a carpet factory and another was sent to work at a textile factory for US$95 (£75) a month. They are not allowed to leave the factories and communication with relatives, if permitted, is heavily monitored, according to a Financial Times report.
However, since August, the Chinese government has defended the camps by arguing that they are vocational training centres that will provide detainees the skills needed for a job in Chinese society, including learning Mandarin.
Participation is voluntary, according to state-broadcaster CCTV in a report in October, releasing footage purportedly showing ‘contented’ Muslim trainees wearing matching uniforms, studying Mandarin and learning trades like knitting, weaving and baking.
‘Xinjiang has established a training model with professional vocational training institutions as the platform, learning the country’s common language, legal knowledge, vocational skills, along with de-extremisation education,’ the chairman of Xinjiang’s government, Shohrat Zakir, said in an ardent defence of the use of the centres.
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