According to an Australian think tank, Chinese authorities have set up about 400 interim camps in the Xinjiang region, building on dozens of people over the past two years, and even Chinese authorities say their “re-education” system is slowly being phased out. Slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly.
According to the latest satellite imaging from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a network of camps in the far west of China, including those used to detain Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, includes 14 that are still under construction.
A total of ASPI has identified 380 detention centers across the region since 2017, ranging from the lowest security re-education camps to remote prisons.
That’s more than 100 times more than previous investigations uncovered, and researchers believe they have now identified most of the detention centers in the region.
“Evidence from this database shows that despite Chinese officials’ claims about graduating from prison camps, significant investment in building new detention facilities continues throughout 2019 and 2020,” said ASPI researcher Nathan Russer.
The Xinjiang Data Project, a database that can be accessed online, informs the public, including the coordinator of the individual camps.
The camps were identified using survival accounts, training internet centers for other projects, and satellite imagery.
The ASPI said nighttime images were particularly effective, as they looked for places that were newly illuminated outside the city; Often these were the sites of newly built detention centers, which gave a clear picture of the construction of images during the day.
Many are also near industrial parks; Several reports have surfaced that prisoners in some internal camps were used as forced labor.
“The camps are often combined with factory complexes, which may suggest the nature of any facilities and highlight the direct pipeline between Xinjiang’s arbitrary detention and forced labor,” the report said.
Beijing insisted there were no human rights violations in Xinjiang. Chinese authorities at first denied the existence of inland camps, then described them as vocational training and re-education programs aimed at eradicating poverty and combating the threat of terrorism.
Last year, a senior official claimed that most of the detainees in the camp had “returned to society.” However, China has not allowed independent access to the camps of journalists, human rights groups or diplomats, and visitors to the region have to be closely monitored.
Much of the information about the camps, and an extensive official campaign against the Muslim minority in the region, came from survivors who had fled abroad, Chinese official documents and satellite images confirming the camp’s location and existence.
People have been identified as petty offenders, such as owning the Qur’an, or refraining from eating pork. Reported abuses include detailed voluntary detention in detention camps, torture and neglect of treatment, and forced birth control.
Uyghur families have been forced to live as “relatives” in the homes of Han Chinese officials, part of a diverse surveillance system that allows people to watch online and watch through a wide network of CCTV cameras in public places.
The ASPI project covers a large scale of both individual detention camps and a whole network of internal facilities, most of which have expanded over the last half decade. A map created from the ASPI database shows a snake in the camp across the most populous part of the region, although thinktank noted that the growth rate of detention facilities is declining.
The largest camp registered in the region, Dabancheng, sits just outside the regional capital, Urumqi. In 2019 the new construction there will extend more than a kilometer long – and currently it has about 100 buildings.
A new detention center in the much smaller historic historic Silk Road town of Kashgar, recently opened in January this year, has 13 five-storey residential buildings spread over 25 hectares (60 acres), surrounded by a 14-meter high wall and clocks, the report said.
The ASPI has divided the camps into four different sections, which reflect the level of protection and control over the detainees.
The protection of the central government’s crackdown on minorities in Xinjiang has led to the suggestion that the latest ed0 facilities, which have recently been expanded, have about half the higher protection.
The report found about 70 camps that appeared to have lost security control by lowering internal fences and enclosing walls. Eight have been completely canceled. These were mostly low security benefits, the report said.
The report reports that the apparent shift in focus to higher security detention centers agrees with surviving witnesses that “a significant number of detainees who have not made satisfactory progress in political repression camps have been transferred to higher security facilities, which has been expanded to accommodate them.”
Internet geek. Wannabe bacon enthusiast. Web trailblazer. Music maven. Entrepreneur. Pop culture fan.