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Latest Update: An ‘exhaustive expose’ of Chinese abuses in Uyghur camps in Xinjiang!

Thousands of photos and documents from Xinjiang shed light on the extent of alleged abuses against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s far western region. The files were published as UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet began a long-awaited and controversial trip to Xinjiang. Beijing is accused of ‘crimes against humanity’ for its treatment of the Uyghur people.

Activists have said Chinese authorities have detained at least one million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in a network of detention camps and prisons in the Xinjiang region. The files were sent to Zenz by an anonymous source who hacked into official databases in Xinjiang, the group says. They show that top leaders in Beijing, including President Xi Jinping, have called for a forceful crackdown on Xinjiang’s Muslim minority.

Instructions for the Camp
As a special project of the Victims of Communism Memorial Fund, where Zenz also works, the Xinjiang Police Files have been made available online. The records offer specific instructions on how to administer internment camps, including details such as how to man watchtowers with sniper rifles and infantry-grade machine guns.

They also contain a 2017 internal address by Chen Quanguo, a former Communist Party secretary in Xinjiang. In this address, he reportedly instructed guards to shoot and murder anybody who tried to flee and urged regional authorities to ‘exercise tight control over religious believers’. Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi reported direct orders from Xi to enhance detention facility capacity in a 2018 internal address.

The roughly 5,000 images taken at internment camps, including 2,884 of imprisoned Uyghurs taken by police personnel, are among the most disturbing files. After first denying the camps’ existence, Beijing stated in 2018 that they were vocational training institutions attended willingly by Uyghurs and other minorities. However, the released documents reveal how officials see the minority community as a security risk, with Zhao warning that more than two million individuals in southern Xinjiang alone had been ‘severely impacted by the infiltration of radical religious ideology’.

UN pressure
Minors such as 17-year-old Zeytunigul Ablehet, jailed for listening to an illegal speech, and 16-year-old Bilal Qasim, reportedly held hostage because he is linked to other detainees, are among the over 2,800 police images of Xinjiang inmates. Zenz said the photographs were poignant because they revealed the ‘truth of looking these individuals in the face’ rather than relegating them to numbers.

The files, some of which have been validated by numerous news organizations, including the BBC and Le Monde, also give a glimpse into life in the prison centers. Photos appear to show cops using batons to subdue hooded and chained convicts, as other guards in camouflage stand by with weapons.

The Xinjiang Police Files are the second big Xinjiang data leak. More than 400 pages of internal papers known as the ‘Xinjiang’ were leaked online in 2019 and confirmed by Zenz. The US expressed outrage at the additional files on Tuesday, saying they demonstrated that abuse was likely condoned at the highest levels in Beijing. Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss termed the newly released documents’ revelations ‘shocking.’ She asked China to provide Bachelet ‘full and unrestricted access to the region so that she can conduct a complete assessment of the facts on the ground’.

Germany also demanded an open inquiry into the ‘shocking’ claims. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock mentioned ‘horror allegations and new evidence of extremely serious human rights breaches in Xinjiang’ in a phone discussion with her Chinese colleague Wang Yi, according to a German foreign ministry statement. According to the statement, Baerbock ‘asked for a transparent inquiry’ into the charges.

However, China’s foreign ministry described the stolen papers as ‘cobbled-together information’ circulated by ‘anti-China forces tarnishing Xinjiang,’ with spokesperson Wang Wenbin accusing the media of ‘spreading falsehoods and rumors’. China’s ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, also tweeted, ‘Such a shame for BBC to print the fake news regarding so-called ‘detention camps.’ It’s pathetic that the media is once again spreading misinformation about Xinjiang in collaboration with the renowned rumor spreader’.


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