China has built 380 Muslim detention centers in the Xinjiang region since 2017, with 14 still under construction, according to new satellite imaging obtained by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. International pressure led to China declaring that its “reeducation program” of Uyghur Muslims in the region was winding down as most people had “returned to society.”
But, in reality, China is expanding its “detention” program.
One of the newest complexes was erected in Kashgar, western China. Built to hold at least 10,000 detainees, the massive compound with a brutality entrance gate, 45-foot-high walls and 13 residential buildings, has no identifying sign.
Instead, its walls simply have an inscription quoting the founder of the Communist Party, Mao Zedong, responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese: “Stay true to our founding mission and aspirations.”
Kashgar is considered the capital of Uyghur culture. The fact that the Chinese Communist Party has based its campaign of cultural genocide in Kashgar is an indicator of its unrepentant intentions.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called China’s repression of the Uyghurs the “stain of the century.” According to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as of 2018, China has up to 2 million Uyghur Muslims in detention camps and “reeducation centers” in the largest mass internment of an ethnic-religious minority group since the Jews in World War II.
But the Chinese government has labeled it the “People’s War on Terrorism” following the 2009 deadly protests and riots against Chinese repression toward Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the region.
And so, the Muslim minorities are being forced to undergo “political indoctrination,” what some have called “systematic brainwashing” and proclaim support for the Chinese government. And as China’s Han ethnic majority is being encouraged to have more children, Uyghur women are being “forcibly sterilized” and subjected to “abortions” by the hundreds of thousands.
One of the main reasons why Uyghurs are sent to the detention centers is because of having three or more children. And so, since 2015, birth rates in Uyghur areas have dropped by more than 60 percent. Last year alone, they fell by 24 percent, compared to a 4 percent drop nationwide.
This mass “sterilization” meets the United Nations’ definition of “genocide.” Secretary Pompeo is reportedly weighing officially labeling China’s actions as “genocidal.” But despite these labels and condemnatory statements, not only is China continuing with the detention program, it is expanding it.
China currently is constructing 14 other detention centers, in addition to the 380 that it has constructed over the last three years, to “reeducate” the Uyghurs and other minority groups. The compounds are often next to the so-called vocational training schools where detainees are force fed Communist party propaganda and “de-radicalized.”
The new Kashgar compound is one of 60 built over the last year alone. These detention centers do not have any kind of rehabilitative features, says Australian Strategic Policy Institute researcher Nathan Ruser. “They seem to rather just be prisons by another name,” he says.
China’s statements minimizing the “war on terror” seem to be false. In fact, China is increasing the scope of its human rights abuses. Eminent among them has been the forced labor that Uyghurs have been subjected to.
“Make people who are hard to employ renounce their selfish ideas was the government directive behind molding China’s minority groups into an army of workers, after leaving the reeducation centers. The main goal is to change the minorities from their ingrained lazy, lax, slow, sloppy, freewheeling, individualistic ways so they obey company rules.”
President Xi Jinping’s plan is to have 1 million Uyghurs working in the textiles industry by 2023. There are about 1 million Uyghurs presently in concentration camps.
It would be easy to think that the Chinese government harbors some unique animus toward the Uyghurs. To be sure, the Communist Party “elevates” the Han ethnic group above all others. The Uyghurs are looked upon as “inferior” and treated accordingly.
But Xinjiang does also sit on China’s “special economic zone” as China’s largest producer of natural gas due to its rich supplies of oil and minerals.
It is therefore central to the “Belt and Road initiative”, China’s regional and international cooperative effort to create a global trade partnership between Asia, Europe and Africa. It is also the home of China’s highly advanced “direct energy weapons” facility.
Additionally, beyond the Uyghurs, there are already half a million Tibetans that China has forced into labor camps in the first seven months of this year alone. These also include enforced indoctrination, surveillance and punishments for insubordination.
The world has been up in arms over China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It has been condemned, demonstrated against, and many leaders have made statements denouncing and castigating it.
And yet not only is China continuing on the exact same path, it is actually stepping up its efforts. Mao Zedong said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
Over and over again, when a human government is given great amounts of unchecked power, genocide, politicide, democide, repression and egregious human rights violations are inevitable. Xinjiang is just the beginning, such authoritarian governments and policies will soon dominate the world.
Thirty-seven countries, including Russia, Laos, North Korea and the Philippines, have actually defended China’s “war on terrorism.” Authoritarian regimes are backing and supporting one another and, to one degree or another, are working to grow their power and control over peoples just as China is doing.
China has been asserting its power in the South China Sea and tightening its control over the people of Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Throughout history, China has often taken on an expansionist policy to conquer, destroy, subdue and enslave people.
In recent years, the United States has acted like China has changed, but that same policy is materializing again, stronger than ever. It is all about power and prosperity, and Xinjiang is only the beginning.
We already see the support China and its form of government has around the world. This will only be exacerbated. These times will not only affect Xinjiang and Tibet, but the whole world. The fruits of this form of government will be evident for all the world to see.