In Xinjiang, China, the Cultural Revolution never really ended. Uyghurs, a minority Muslim group in Xinjiang, and other Muslims are being detained and put into what human rights groups call “modern day concentration camps”. Chinese officials call these places of mass detention, torture, and mistreatment “education and vocation centers”. Inmates learn lessons in “law and culture, Mandarin, and skills like shop-keeping, hospitality, animal husbandry, and e-commerce”. They want to “re-educate” Uyghurs and “rid them of their extremist views” in response to terror attacks the Chinese blame on them. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “People’s War on Terror”, however, has become less about preventing violent extremism and more about “enforcing allegiance”, Dennis Wilder, former CIA deputy assistant director for East Asia advocates (Simmons).
Video evidence shows adult “students” creating flyers that read: “I love the Communist Party” (Inside China’s ‘Thought Transformation’ Camps – BBC News.”). Omar Kanat, director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, highlights that “they are forcing them to say there is no God, there is only the Communist Party” (Simmons). People, being stripped of their identity, a basic human right, are forced to pledge a different loyalty – a modern day cultural genocide.
These centers are more than just educational prisons. There are accounts of “rape and torture in a ‘black room’ where people screamed”. Inmates are under strict surveillance and given medication to make them obedient (The Associated Press). Many are convicted of no crime and face no trial – guilty, with no chance to prove their innocence. Held against their will, no one knows when they will ever be able to return home (“Inside China’s ‘Thought Transformation’ Camps – BBC News.”).
“Inside China’s ‘Thought Transformation’ Camps – BBC News.” YouTube, YouTube, 18 June 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmId2ZP3h0c.
The Associated Press. “Secret Documents Reveal How China Mass Detention Camps Work.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 25 Nov. 2019, apnews.com/4ab0b341a4ec4e648423f2ec47ea5c47.
Simmons, Keir. “Inside Chinese Camps Thought to Be Detaining a Million Muslim Uighurs.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Oct. 2019, www.nbcnews.com/news/world/inside-chinese-camps-thought-detain-million-muslim-uighurs-n1062321.