As more information leaks out regarding the Chinese communist government’s oppression of Muslim minorities in the country, the explanations from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) become even more impossible to believe.
The latest leaked documents, reviewed by BBC Panorama, show that the re-education camps are intended to be run as prisons and not as educational facilities, as the CCP routinely claims. One nine-page memo included in the collection of documents, sent in 2017 by then deputy secretary of Xinjiang’s Communist Party, Zhu Hailun, explains how the prisons should be run:
“Never allow escapes”
“Increase discipline and punishment of behavioural violations”
“Promote repentance and confession”
“Make remedial Mandarin studies the top priority”
“Encourage students to truly transform”
“[Ensure] full video surveillance coverage of dormitories and classrooms free of blind spots”
The documents explain how each “student” is to have their every move controlled:
The students should have a fixed bed position, fixed queue position, fixed classroom seat, and fixed station during skills work, and it is strictly forbidden for this to be changed.
Implement behavioural norms and discipline requirements for getting up, roll call, washing, going to the toilet, organising and housekeeping, eating, studying, sleeping, closing the door and so forth.
The CCP’s claims that these camps are voluntary are undermined by the fact that no one is allowed to “escape.”
The documents, according to the BBC, also detail a punishment-and-reward system that is used to restrict access to family members and determine how long a prisoner will remain in the camp. Detainees receive award points for their “ideological transformation, study and training, and compliance with discipline” and are punished for any number of behaviors.
The latest documents also show the terrifying “Minority Report”-style surveillance system China uses to incarcerate people based on the prediction that they will one day commit a crime. In one of the leaked documents, this system is shown to have flagged 1.8 million people as potential future criminals because they had the Zapya app on their phone. Chinese authorities then investigated 40,557 people who had the app installed and that “if it is not possible to eliminate suspicion” then send them for “concentrated training,” the documents said.
The most targeted group in China are Uyghurs. It is estimated that more than one million people are currently detained in China’s internment camps, most of them Uyghurs.
The news from this stash of documents comes just after The New York Times reported on internal documents showing how authorities in Xinjiang were to respond to college students returning home to discover their families had been sent to the labor camps.
Authorities were to respond: “They’re in a training school set up by the government,” and if the student pressed for more information, the authorities were to say their families were no criminals but could not leave the “schools.” Further, students would be threatened that their families may be held longer depending on the student’s actions.
“I’m sure that you will support them, because this is for their own good and also for your own good,” authorities would say.