The new materials reveal how Beijing’s internment of Uighur Muslims actually works—and who is complicit.
Date: November 27, 2019
By: James Palmer
Welcome to Foreign Policy’s weekly China Brief. The highlights this week: Secret documents expose new details about China’s detention camps, a victory for the ongoing protest movement in Hong Kong’s elections, and China overtakes the United States in the scale of its foreign diplomatic presence.
A major set of leaked documents revealing new information about China’s increasingly well-documented oppression of Muslims in Xinjiang has been translated and published, thanks to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), in a project led by frequent Foreign Policy contributor Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian. These came after an earlier leak published by the New York Times.
Experts say more than 1 million Uighurs and members of other, mostly Muslim minority groups are detained in Xinjiang.
The leaks appear to stem from different sources: The New York Times documents mostly include materials about internal Chinese Communist Party speeches and rhetoric, whereas the ICIJ one concentrates on the practicalities of the crackdown. One of the most important among them is a manual that lays out the conditions for the so-called “students” in the camps, including security and the prevention of any escape.
Grim revelations. The papers confirm the size and scope of the detentions. One passage describes more than 15,000 Uighurs being swept into the camps in a single week in one region. Another document reveals that even routine Muslim worship is now enough to result in imprisonment. Algorithmic policing and surveillance through the Integrated Joint Operations Platform system, now routinely deployed throughout China, appears to play an important role. [FULL STORY]