Update on Chinese Concentration Camps


In recent news it appears that China is increasing the number of secret detention centers in Xinjiang. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) used satellite images which showed more than 380 suspected detention centers that have been newly built since 2017. In the past it was news that China was housing concentration camps in hopes to “re-educate” Uighur Muslims but it just so seems that they never stopped, and built more of these centers behind closed doors.

Even after the Chinese government had said that the people held in the re-education centers had returned to society last year, they would not allow journalists, human rights groups, or diplomats to directly access the camps, and any visitors were under very heavy surveillance. These centers holding the Uighers range from low-security re-education camps to very secured prisons.

Beijing upholds that Xinjiang is not violating any human rights. At first Chinese powers denied the existence of the camps, but eventually called them re-education programs and vocational training. They claimed they did this to eliminate the chance of poverty and counter terrorism threats. 

As explained by the ASPI “Camps are also often co-located with factory complexes, which can suggest the nature of a facility and highlight the direct pipeline between arbitrary detention in Xinjiang and forced labour”. This shows that it is very likely that the camps are withholding forced labor.

The majority of the information known about these centers come from survivors who managed to flee to other countries, leaked Chinese government documents, and satellite images that showed the exact location of the camps.