China is reportedly building detention camps for muslims despite of facing a huge International outrage.
A huge entrance gate, topped with the red national flag, stands before Chinese government buildings. There is no sign identifying the complex, only an inscription bearing an exhortation from Communist Party founding father Mao Zedong: “Stay true to our founding mission and aspirations.”
It is located next to a vocational training school and a logistics center south of Kashgar.
It is a new detention camp spanning some 60 acres, opened as recently as January. With 13 five-story residential buildings, it can accommodate more than 10,000 people.
The Kashgar site is among dozens of prisonlike detention centers that Chinese authorities have built across the Xinjiang region, according to the Xinjiang Data Project, an initiative of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), despite Beijing’s claims that it is winding down its internationally denounced effort to reeducate the Uighur population after deeming the campaign a success.
For the past year, the Chinese government has said that almost all the people in its vocational training program in Xinjiang, ostensibly aimed at deradicalizing the region’s mostly Muslim population, had graduated and been released into the community.
In a statement ASPI researcher Nathan Ruser said: “This shows that the statements made by the government are patently false, adding that there had merely been a shift in style of detention.”
Satellite imagery reveals a tunnel for sending detainees from a processing center into the facility, and a large courtyard like those seen in other camps where detainees have been forced to pledge allegiance to the Chinese flag.
“This is a much more concerted effort to detain and physically remove people from society,” Ruser said. “There aren’t any sort of rehabilitative features in these higher-security detention centers. They seem to rather just be prisons by another name.”
These detention camps are the backdrop to all Chinese government efforts to control the population in Xinjiang, said James Millward, a professor of inter-societal history at Georgetown University who has been tracking the plight of the Uighurs.
“They exist as a threat,” Millward said. (The authorities) can go to people and say: We want you to move 600 miles and work in a factory, or your father better not object to this marriage that’s been set up for you by the party committee, otherwise you’ll be seen as an extremist.