World, Americas

US daily blasts 'sickening' expansion of Uighur gulags

Once they leave reeducation camps, China’s Uighurs appear to face military-style labor camps

James Reinl   | 18.12.2019
US daily blasts 'sickening' expansion of Uighur gulags

NEW YORK

The Washington Post daily has slammed China’s treatment of ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims this week, saying the concentration camp system in the west of the country appeared to be expanding.

On Monday, the newspaper’s editorial board said Beijing had “corralled more than 1 million” people from the mostly-Muslim communities into “concentration camps in Xinjiang in order to wipe out their language, religion and culture”.

Once they were freed from the “notorious archipelago of reeducation camps”, many Uighurs appeared to “graduate” into forced labor workplaces on industrial parks where they endured ongoing restrictions, monitoring and abuses.

“It appears many are being sent to factories no freer than the camps, in some cases located on the campgrounds or adjacent to them,” wrote the board, accompanied with a photo of a protest outside the Chinese Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

“If true, the creation of a chain gang of Uighur workers is yet another sickening dimension to one of the world’s most serious human rights crises. It should be the subject of a credible international investigation, with consequences.”

The editorial describes low wages for Uighur workers in military-style conditions, effectively continuing their “political indoctrination, social control, extrajudicial internment and massive surveillance with the effect of breaking up traditional, religious and family life.”

Details about the Uighur industrial parks came from Adrian Zenz, a senior fellow in China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, who addressed his latest findings of abuses this month in the Journal of Political Risk.

United Nations experts and campaigners say that some 1 million Uighurs and others, mostly Muslims, have been caged in the far western Xinjiang region in a crackdown that has been criticized by the United States, European nations and others.

China’s government has repeatedly said its camps offer voluntary education and training to help stamp out extremism.

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