Saturday, February 01, 2020

"transformation through education,"

Despite the attention of the world media, The human rights situation in China's northwestern Xinjiang region has "markedly worsened" in recent years, according to a confidential document compiled in December 2019 by the German Foreign Ministry. It was based on information provided by human rights organizations, lawyers, Western embassies and international organizations.

Uighur Muslims have long faced cultural and political discrimination in China, which has led to widespread discontent and, at times, violence. Under the guise of fighting terrorism, China is seemingly punishing an entire population, targeting the Uighur language, religion and culture and placing them under a tight-knit mesh of constant electronic surveillance. Since late 2016, there has been an "alarming increase" in repressive measures and systematic discrimination in China targeting Uighurs, as well as other Muslim minorities, according to the report. China has placed any Muslim — be it Uighur or other Muslim minority — under a general suspicion of supporting and spreading extremist views.

The Foreign Ministry said that more than 1 million of the roughly 10 million Uighurs living in Xinjiang are thought to have disappeared into a network of prisons and camps that Chinese authorities have been constructing since late 2016.

Many are held indefinitely. Some are moved to labor camps, and others are allowed to return home under the strict supervision of local authorities, with their freedom of movement strictly curtailed.

According to the report's authors, the Chinese motto of the camps: "transformation through education," is in actuality a "euphemistic term for draconian ideological training courses." The Chinese authorities claim that the camps are vocational training centers they set up to fight "extremist ideas" and provide Uighurs with "valuable skills." Detainees are said to undergo a rigorous indoctrination process and Mandarin language courses.
There are reports of mistreatment, sexual violence and deaths in the internment camps. Uighurs whose relatives live abroad are put under increased surveillance and having contacts abroad can lead to internment and interrogation.

China is pressuring the governments of Egypt, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand to deport Uighurs back to China. There is no information about these peoples' "whereabouts," the report said. Chinese citizens considered as being what authorities call "subversive" minorities are in danger of disappearing "indefinitely" should they be deported back to China, it continued. These groups include Uighurs and Tibetans.

The situation report also said it will be important to monitor "the growth of an authoritarian state" with a tendency towards "totalitarian structures" under the hand of President Xi Jinping. The goal of the Communist Party's oppression of civil liberties is preserving its power domestically, along with the entrenchment of Xi Jinping's claim to leadership. This is reflected in the human rights situation in the country, the report said.
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