China borrows from totalitarian playbook with Xinjiang camps

The Sidney Morning Heald
Date: February 20, 2019
By: Michael Clarke

A re-education camp, officially known as vocational education and training centre, on the outskirts of Turpan City, Xinjiang.

It is now beyond doubt that China is undertaking a program of mass incarceration of the Uighur population in its far north-western province of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in a system of “re-education” centres.

Analysis of Chinese government procurement contracts for construction of these facilities and satellite imaging has revealed not only that hundreds exist throughout the region but that many resemble prisons complete with hardened security and surveillance features.

Within them detainees experience a regimented daily existence – compelled to repeatedly sing “patriotic” songs praising the benevolence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), study Mandarin, Confucian texts and President Xi Jinping’s “thought” – under the threat of solitary confinement, food deprivation and, reportedly, waterboarding and electric shocks should they resist.

The goal, according to a Xinjiang CCP official, is to “treat and cleanse the virus [of extremism] from their brain” and “restore their normal mind” so that they may “return to a healthy ideological state of mind”.

In terms of purpose, then, China’s Xinjiang camps share much with Stalin’s gulag and Hitler’s concentration camps as they reflect a drive to not only use repression as a means of control but also its desire to mobilise society “behind an exclusive ideology” and “to ‘educate’ people into becoming committed believers, to claim them in soul as well as body”.    [FULL  STORY]