China Defends Mass “Re-education Camps” As Uighur Muslims “Transformed For The Better”

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Tue, 10/16/2018

Two months after a United Nations human rights panel first accused China of holding up to one million ethnic Uighurs in what was described a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy,” Chinese officials have now admitted to the existence of the “re-education” camps focused on “preventing” religious extremism, and have mounted a fierce defense, going so far as to say former detainees have been “transformed for the better” and live happier lives as “citizens of the nation”.

Though reports of the Orwellian mass internment camps where “brain washing” techniques are said to be routine have shocked Western audiences as details and testimony have emerged over the past weeks, China has now not only unashamedly admitted to the centers, but is positively boastful about the whole enterprise.

A new Reuters report details a bombshell interview with Beijing’s number two Communist party official, who just happens to also be the most senior ethnic Uighur in Xinjiang province – the location and foremost concentration of government crackdowns and internment camps for the mintority group:

Vocational training is being used “to the greatest extent” in China’s far-western Xinjiang region to ensure militant activities are “eliminated before they occur,” a senior Communist Party official said.

The state media interview with Shohrat Zakir, the number two party official and most senior ethnic Uighur in Xinjiang, is China’s most detailed defense yet of its policies in the region, which is home to a large Muslim population.

The minority ethno-religious group concentrated in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang has found itself under increased persecution and oversight by Chinese authorities of late as their collective Sunni Islamic identity and separatist political movements have resulted in historic tensions with the Communist government.

Beijing has in recent years been accused of practicing collective punishment and broad crackdowns on the Uighur population in Xinjiang, which is numbered in total at 11 million (with some estimates of up to 15 million; China’s total Muslim population is at about 21 million). The minority ethnic group is also found in sizable numbers in neighboring Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan. Recent UN statements have blamed state authorities for prominent Uighur Chinese citizens and dissidents being “disappeared”.

Though now owning up to the existence of what the Chinese official in this latest interview called “vocational training” — authorities are seeking to downplay its extent what appears a coordinated public relations campaign pushing back against recent stories focused on shocking testimonies of victims who spent time in the camps. Reuters confirms that, “After initially issuing blanket denials, Chinese officials have in recent weeks said they were not enforcing arbitrary detention and political re-education across a network of secret camps, but rather some citizens guilty of minor offences were sent to vocational centers to provide employment opportunities.”

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