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China Expanding Its Network of Secret Detention Camps in Xinjiang: Australian Think Tank

China Expanding Its Network of Secret Detention Camps in Xinjiang: Australian Think Tank

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 Vinayak Barot

New Delhi, Sep 25: China is consistently increasing its network of secret detention centres in Xinjiang region and targeting Muslim minorities in assimilation campaign, an Australian think tank found this in satellite images.

According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, China constructed more than 380 suspected detention camps in the remote Xinjiang which is Uyghur Autonomous Region. The  Institute captured images by the satellite and official construction tender documents to map this.

“These are highlighting re-education camps, detention centres and prisons that have been newly built or expanded since 2017” the Institute report said.

The Institute prepared the report on the evidence that China had made a policy shift from detaining Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in makeshift public buildings to constructing permanent mass detention facilities.

A few months ago, China’s communist government had locked Muslim minorities in the remote Xinjiang region as a part of government assimilation campaign.

Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are against of Chinese rule and have held protests many times. In the corona period, these minorities have been forced to undergo abortion and were ordered to drink traditional Chinese medicines to combat the disease.

A researcher at the Institute – Nathan Ruser – wrote in his report ,“Available evidence suggests that many extrajudicial detainees in Xinjiang’s vast ‘re-education’ network are now being formally charged and locked up in higher security facilities, including newly-built or expanded prisons, or sent to walled factory compounds for coerced labour assignments,” The report was released late on Thursday.

“At least 61 detention sites had undergone new construction and expansion work in a year to July 2020 and these included at least 14 facilities still under construction this year,” the report said.

“Of these, about 50 per cent are higher security facilities, which may suggest a shift in usage from the lower-security, ‘re-education centres’ toward higher-security prison-style facilities.

“At least 70 facilities appeared to have lesser security by the removal of internal fencing or perimeter walls, these included eight camps that showed signs of decommissioning and were possibly closed. Of the camps stripped of security infrastructure, 90 per cent were lower security facilities,” Ruser wrote.

 

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