Newly leaked documents from the Chinese government reveal unprecedented evidence and case records of mass detention of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in East Turkestan (Xinjiang), where an estimated 1.8 million are held in re-education camps. The document includes a detailed list of Uyghurs in detention, specific reasons for their internment, and why many should not be released. The 137 page document is titled “Trainees whose relatives went abroad and did not return” and contains more than 2,800 individuals named in the records, 337 of whom have been authenticated through researcher Adrian Zenz and his team.
The document ultimately signals how the Uyghur population is treated with a blanket of suspicion and distrust. Reasons for detainment other than traveling abroad include matters such as applying for a passport, praying, keeping a beard, or even internet browsing of certain sites. One may also be detained through the actions of a family member or neighbor, making anyone suspect for possible detention. Researchers contend that much of this information is gathered through Chinese government cadres who live in Uyghur homes, report their activities, and assess their political and religious thought.
Aydin Anwar, Uyghur activist and Outreach Manager for the Save Uyghur Campaign, comments about the documents: “This information is not new, but is nonetheless critical in revealing solid evidence to the public about how ruthless the Chinese government is in locking up anybody, any time, for any reason. The reasons for detainment shown in the document go beyond religion (i.e. having too many kids or having a relative abroad), so now we have clear evidence that this whole crackdown is about wiping the Uyghurs out, and not about religion. Religion is just an excuse.”
Justice For All calls on the United States to use this evidence showing the mass arbitrary detention of millions of Uyghurs and to further pressure China to close the camps. In addition, the Coronavirus threatens the detained Uyghurs, and China must free all before there are widespread deaths. We hope the Chinese authorities see the gross Human Rights violations they have brought upon the Uyghur and end the concentration camp programs once and for all.