‘The scale is scary. We haven’t seen in recent Chinese history that there would be such a scale of detaining people in camps in such huge numbers’
Date: 16 December 2018
By: Samuel Osborne
Mass re-education camps used to hold Uighur and other Muslim minorities in China are being run like “wartime concentration camps”, Amnesty has said.
Up to one million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities have been arbitrarily detained in internment camps in the far-west Xinjiang region, according to human rights groups and a UN panel.
But Uighur activists have estimated up to 3 million people have been detained in the camps, Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International, told The Independent.
“The scale is scary. We haven’t seen in recent Chinese history that there would be such a scale of detaining people in camps in such huge numbers,” he said.
“So I think it’s legitimate for people to raise concern about how the camps are being run similar to wartime concentration camps. It’s comparable in scale.”
He said Amnesty had reports from former detainees who said they were forced to attend political re-education lessons and sing political songs. Previous reports have said Muslims were forced to denounce Islam and swear loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party, in addition to being forced to eat pork and drink alcohol – acts forbidden by their religion.
But new reports of life in the camps or the wider region are rare, mostly because former detainees are too afraid to talk about their cases and because the Chinese state controls what journalists in the region can do, according to Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. [FULL STORY]