New revelations indict China on its internment camps


Nov,21: In a startling revelation, the Chinese cables on the internment camp in Xinjiang’s region, where nearly a million Muslim minorities, mostly Uyghurs, are not only detained, but are also under round the clock surveillance by Chinese State authorities, even on their day-to-day socialization.

These shocking leaks dates back from 2017 and provided by Uyghur overseas networks, which are exposed (Nov 25, 2019) by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to the New York Times, BBC, Guardian and 14 other media associates. Among the documents recovered, there are four “bulletins” which provided confirmation of the hi-tech surveillance system being employed inside the detention camps by the State authorities to collect information on minority Uyghur Muslims.

The latest disclosure of the 24 pages of documents is the second significant leak after a member of the Chinese political establishment shared a 403-page set of internal papers of these camps, which were exposed by The New York Times earlier this year. The latest sets of documents have been reviewed by the experts who concluded them to be authentic.

One of the document containing a nine-page order of November 2017, issued by the Communist Party Committee in Xinjiang enlists its secret directive on managing of the internment camps. While, another regional party committee carried out information on targeted individual for investigation and their further detention in camps.

To attain their objectives of the highest level of surveillance, the Xinjiang Bureau of Public Security procured Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP) in 2016 as a policing tool that combines all the information in a detailed database showing individual’s exact height, color of their car, their socializing pattern and even their usage of front or back door to house.

With the usage of this IJOP, the authorities flagged up almost 25,000 “suspicious” individuals (Uyghurs) in just one week of June 2017 from a part of southern Xinjiang alone. Of these, more than 15,000 were sent to the so-called re-education camps, and nearly 706 were jailed.

From one of the four bulletins, it was revealed that state authorities has enormous capacity to scan online activities of users in Xinjiang region and could have identified 1.8 million users of a file-sharing app known as Zapya (or Kuai Ya in China). After scrutinizing, thousands among them were considered suspicious and flagged up for further checks.

The monitoring of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang does not end here, revealed another daily bulletin, which showed ordering of an investigation of people who have obtained foreign citizenship or applied for visas or other documents at Chinese embassies abroad.

These retrieved daily bulletins and the documents on camp operations were signed by Zhu Hailun, a security official in Xinjiang during 2017, who was currently assigned plum position in the regional legislature early this year for rendering good work in the region. Zhu, was the key enforcer of the internment campaign, implementing orders of the regional party secretary, Chen Quanguo, into detailed plans. He remained of the ideology that minds can be reprogrammed through intense indoctrination and propaganda, a method he used to suppress Uyghur Muslims.

The directives were issued to keep extensive records on detainees, and described a scoring system to measure their behavior. On the basis of which, inmates were assigned one of three zones based on judging their gravity level — general management, strict, and very strict, the document explained.

Furthermore, detainees must meet “disciplinary demands” or face punishment. Inmates could be released on achieving a good score in the prescribed point system, which mean individual must be categorized at the lowest threat level and have served a minimum term of one year, the directive added.

However, former detainees confirmed that the criteria for release seemed arbitrary, and there was little clarity on when or why people could leave.

Zenz, who reviewed the documents on camp operations and other materials, found that about one in six rural adult residents of villages in Xinjiang region were interned or in prison. He even documented five children between the ages of 3 and 14 effectively orphaned after their father was imprisoned and their mother put in an indoctrination camp.

The documents also showed a most horrific court judgment sentencing a Uighur resident to 10 years in prison on charges of inciting ethnic hatred and discrimination, a vaguely defined crime.

A profound researcher of these internment camps and also senior fellow in China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a human rights group in Washington, Adrian Zenz, confirmed that “In terms of documentary evidence received, the disclosure reached a next level. The present evidence is very comprehensive and revealed China’s cover-up, the denials and the half-truths.”

From these new sets of disclosures, would China still term these detention centers as re-education camps?