Testimony from Kazakh Chinese nationals have confirmed allegations that the Chinese government has built a network of internment camps in western China where Muslim minorities (the Uighurs) are held for “reeducation” purposes. “In China, they call it a political camp, but really it was a prison in the mountains,” Sayragul Sauytbay, an ethnic Kazakh Chinese national, told a court last month. She says she was forced to work at a camp where around 2,500 ethnic Kazakhs were being held for indoctrination. Ms. Sauytbay has since fled to Kazakhstan.
According to the Washington Post, at these camps, Muslim minorities are forced to sing propaganda songs such as “Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China.” The cells are crowded with people, and one man released said he had been waterboarded. Laura Stone, acting U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for China, said at a briefing last Spring that “at least” tens of thousands of Chinese Muslims are in detention. Experts suggest the number could be hundreds of thousands or more.
The Guardian reports that China has denied claims made that authorities are suppressing the rights of Muslim minorities in the west of the country. A Chinese delegation told a UN human rights panel on August 13th that China had launched a “special campaign” to crack down on “extremist and terrorist crimes”, but no specific ethnic or religious groups were being targeted.