The China Cables: Leaked Classified Chinese Documents Confirm China Running Massive Concentration Camps to “Re-educate” Uighurs

Oddly, a blockbuster leak based on classified Chinese government documents confirm charges that large-scale prison camps in the Xinjiang region use extreme regimentation and torture to turn its Muslim population, the Uighur, into the functional equivalent of Han Chinese, is not getting prominent play in most Western newspapers even though the number incarcerated may exceed one million. Nevertheless “most viewed” tallies show these China Cable revelations are getting traction.

The leaked official documents, of which the centerpiece is a nine-page operating manual from 2017, when the prison camps were opening, were leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which in turn shared them with 17 partners, many of whom did further digging. . The main document plus four shorter, later “bulletins” describe the policies for the prison camps. From the ICIJ overview:

The China Cables,…include a classified list of guidelines, personally approved by the region’s top security chief, that effectively serves as a manual for operating the camps now holding hundreds of thousands of Muslim Uighurs and other minorities. The leak also features previously undisclosed intelligence briefings that reveal, in the government’s own words, how Chinese police are guided by a massive data collection and analysis system that uses artificial intelligence to select entire categories of Xinjiang residents for detention….

The China Cables reveal how the system is able to amass vast amounts of intimate personal data through warrantless manual searches, facial recognition cameras, and other means to identify candidates for detention, flagging for investigation hundreds of thousands merely for using certain popular mobile phone apps. The documents detail explicit directives to arrest Uighurs with foreign citizenship and to track Xinjiang Uighurs living abroad, some of whom have been deported back to China by authoritarian governments. Among those implicated as taking part in the global dragnet: China’s embassies and consulates.

Former inmates now living abroad also state that Chinese officials would interrogate Uighur family members separately and intensively, including children, and would require the families accept “relatives” that would participate in family activities as well as take the children away for hours at a time. Refusing these “relatives” would lead to incarceration. Escapees also report torture, daily sexual abuse of women, and forced surgeries and drug use.

Needless to say, Chinese officials vigorously dispute these accounts. China’s ambassador to the UK called the reports “pure fabrication and fake news” and insisted the camps were voluntary educational and training centers. The Chinese ambassador to Ireland, by contrast, fell short of a denial:

The Chinese ambassador to Ireland, He Xiangdong, was asked to comment in advance of the publication of the China Cables. He was told the documents showed that people are being held against their will in harsh conditions, and that “ideological transformation” is necessary before a person is released.

“The issue Xinjiang faces is not about ethnicity, religion or human rights,” he said in a statement. “Rather, it is about fighting violence, terrorism and separatism.”

Thanks to the preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation efforts, “including establishing vocational education and training centers,” Xinjiang, a place that once suffered gravely from terrorism, hasn’t seen a single violent, terrorist incident over the past three years, the ambassador said.

“We will continue to handle our domestic affairs well. We will continue to implement our Xinjiang policy and ensure Xinjiang’s sound development.”

I take these leaks at face value because not only have human rights advocates been describing large-scale detention of Uighurs for the better part of two years, I have also heard about them from credible sources when I am not at all plugged into China. Because these contacts have and in come cases continue to operate in China, accounts like this are against their commercial interest. They come from individuals who have visited the Xinjiang region and depict the surveillance and oppression of the Uighur as well known. One called out McKinsey for signaling its support of the camps. From a contact:

That region has gotten lots of recent press because of the oppression of the Uighur minority. It’s worse than most press describe. It’s a police state like the storm troopers of Star Wars. Last fall [2018] McKinsey held its annual senior partner meeting in the desert near Kashgar. For that to have been done was, to me, a clear signal to the Chinese government of McKinsey’s tacit approval of their actions there. It was appalling. No other part of China, including Tibet, is even remotely as oppressive.

We’ll summarize the disclosures and the related reporting, but for one-stop shopping for more detail, the Irish Times has done a phenomenal job, with an in-depth account as its lead story today and eight additional reports (their video also provides a fine overview).

Background

Xinjiang has a substantial population of largely Muslim Uighurs, who speak their own language and have lived in the region for a millennium, by virtue of being on the old “silk road” trade route to the Middle East. It has become strategically important to China now by being the central axis of China’s “Belt and Road” initiative:

The Uighurs are the fourth largest ethnic group in China, totaling roughly 11 million. Tensions between the Uighurs and the Han Chinese escalated after violence in 2009 and again in 2014.

From a report in February at Business Insider:

People in Xinjiang are watched by tens of thousands of facial recognition cameras, and surveillance apps on their phones. An estimated 2 million of them are locked in internment camps where people are physically and psychologically abused….

China has accused militant Uighurs of being terrorists and inciting violence across the country since at least the early 2000s, as many Uighur separatists left China for places like Afghanistan and Syria to become fighters.

But its campaign of repression only stepped up in the past two years, under the rule of Chen Quanguo, a Communist Party secretary who previously designed the program of intensive surveillance in Tibet.

Normal people in Xinjiang have found themselves disappeared or detained in internment camps for flimsy reasons, like setting their clocks to a different time zone or communicating with people in other countries, even their relatives.

Rushan Abbas, a Uighur activist in Virginia, told Business Insider: “This has everything to do with the Xi Jinping’s signature project, the Belt and Road Initiative, because the Uighur land is in the heart of the most key point of Xi Jinping’s signature project.”

In 2017, the crackdown began. Large-scale detentions began, with people and even families disappearing. Reporters, academics, and human rights campaigners identified the recent construction of large facilities:

In 2018, China could no longer deny the existence of these camps but asserted they were voluntary “vocational training centers.”

Every major city in the Xinjiang area has at least one “center,” identified from satellie images via their guard towers and razor wire perimeters, with over 100 located.

Intensive Surveillance and Pre-Crime

The ICIJ report confirms these accounts and provides more detail. A tweetstorm by the lead reporter Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian (worth reading in full) describes the Chinese pre-crime system:

From Quartz’s recap:

Four separate bulletins reveal how the government uses a mass data collection program to identify people it deems to be potential extremists. Its data sources include checkpoints, facial-recognition CCTV cameras, spyware that some Uighurs have had forcibly installed on their phones, and “Wi-Fi sniffers,” according to Human Rights Watch. It has also been monitoring an app called Zapya, which was developed by a Beijing-based company, has 450 million users worldwide, and is very popular with Muslims, ICIJ reports.

Authorities then use artificial intelligence to comb through that data and suggest people to detain, ICIJ reports. One bulletin reports that over seven days in June 2017, 15,683 Xinjiang residents who had been flagged by technology were rounded up and put in internment camps.

As the ICIJ reports points out:

Perhaps even more significant than the actual data collected are the grinding psychological effects of living under such a system. With batteries of facial-recognition cameras on street corners, endless checkpoints and webs of informants, IJOP [the Integrated Joint Operations Platform ] generates a sense of an omniscient, omnipresent state that can peer into the most intimate aspects of daily life. As neighbors disappear based on the workings of unknown algorithms, Xinjiang lives in a perpetual state of terror..

Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said IJOP’s purpose extends far beyond identifying candidates for detention. Its purpose is to screen an entire population for behavior and beliefs that the government views with suspicion, including signs of strong attachment to the Muslim faith or Uighur identity. “It’s a background check mechanism, with the possibility of monitoring people everywhere,” Wang said.

China is particularly aggressive about targeting Uighurs living abroad. Again from the ICIJ:

Ominously, Bulletin No. 2 points to the role of China’s embassies and consulates in collecting information for IJOP, which is then used to generate names for investigation and detention. It cites an IJOP-generated list of 4,341 people found to have applied for visas and other documents at Chinese consulates or who applied for “replacements of valid identification at our Chinese embassies or consulates abroad.” The bulletin includes instructions for those people to be investigated and arrested “the moment they cross the border” back into China.

News organizations have already reported that camp inmate populations included some foreign nationals. Now Bulletin No. 2 shows that their presence in the camps was not accidental but rather an explicit policy objective…

The bulletin directed officials to find and investigate as many of them as possible, without apparent concern for any diplomatic fallout that might result from placing foreign citizens in extrajudicial internment camps.

Indoctrination and Torture

As we indicated, the Irish Times has done impressive additional reporting. It main article shows excerpts from the source documents in Chinese, which then morph into the English translation and back. It is particularly strong on the abuses in the camps and the chilling effect on communication. For instance:

“Dormitory doors, corridor doors, and floor doors must be double-locked, and must be locked immediately after being opened and closed.”

“Strictly manage and control student activities to prevent escapes during class, eating periods, toilet breaks, bath time, medical treatment, family visits, etc.”

The quotes are from instructions issued by a top security official in the Xinjiang province of China, where since 2017 more than a million people from Uighur and other ethnic minority groups are being kept in camps….

The Irish Times’ experts viewed the aim of the “education” as the eradication of the Uighur identity:

Alexander Dukalskis, an assistant professor in UCD’s school of politics and international relations, and a specialist on Asian politics, reviewed the Zhu document [the nine-page memorandum] for The Irish Times.

“This is about enforcing another language on a minority group as part of stamping out their independent culture. The document doesn’t mention teaching maths, or science – it focuses on language and ideology. It is about wiping out their language so as to control their culture and enforce political loyalty.”

The ultimate aim, according to Dukalskis, is to destroy any possibility of serious opposition to the government in Xinjiang by Uighurs, forever.

“This sounds exaggerated, but there is really no other way to put it. The strategy is to eliminate dissent, enforce loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party, via indoctrination camps and other coercive methods, and to stamp out the independent practice of Islam and Uighur culture.”

Under the heading ideological education, Zhu instructed party colleagues to “promote the repentance and confession of the students for them to understand deeply the illegal, criminal and dangerous nature of their past behaviour”.

Experts also see the documents as confirming first-hand accounts of torture:

Adrian Zenz, a recognised authority on what is happening in Xinjiang, told the ICIJ he believes the reference in the instructions to not allowing “abnormal deaths” has to do with torture.

The telegram does not mention torture, “but the fact that it mentions the avoidance of abnormal deaths, in my opinion, is an indication that [the camp system] is using forms of physical force on people that, however, is not supposed to kill them.”

People are being put in chain-suits, are being made stand in certain positions, and are being beaten, said Zenz. Other harsher forms of torture are being meted out in prisons and detention centres.

In October a former detainee, Sayragul Sauytbay, a muslim of Kazakh descent who has been granted asylum in Sweden, told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that some inmates were made sit on a chair of nails. “I saw people return from that room covered in blood. Some came back without fingernails.”

Conscript Labor

The fact that China is using forced Uighur labor is not news. From the New York Times last December:

China has defied an international outcry against the vast internment program in Xinjiang, which holds Muslims and forces them to renounce religious piety and pledge loyalty to the party. The emerging labor program underlines the government’s determination to continue operating the camps despite calls from United Nations human rights officials, the United States and other governments to close them…..

Serikzhan Bilash, a founder of Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights, an organization in Kazakhstan that helps ethnic Kazakhs who have left neighboring Xinjiang, said he had interviewed relatives of 10 inmates who had told their families that they were made to work in factories after undergoing indoctrination in the camps.

They mostly made clothes, and they called their employers “black factories,” because of the low wages and tough conditions, he said.

From July in Business Insider, China is running forced labour camps in the remote province of Xinjiang — and retailers like Ikea, Target, Cotton On, Jeanswest and H&M are embroiled in the scandal, based on a report on Australia’s weekly documentary show, Four Corners:

The investigation by the public broadcaster has uncovered instances of detained Uighurs being funnelled from so-called re-education camps to involuntary labour in factories in Xinjiang.

The report names six retailers operating in Australia that source cotton from the troubled region — Target, Cotton On, Jeanswest, Dangerfield, Ikea and H&M.

The Chinese party line on the “re-education” is that the detainees learn new skills so they can pursue vocations other than farming. While the documents did not directly describe forced labor, the bulletins describe policies consistent with them, like making sure the “graduates” find employment and ““not leave the line of sight for one year” after leaving a camp.

With human rights abuses, even a large accumulation of eye-witness accounts regularly fails to galvanize public opinion. After all, the plural of anecdote is not data. However, documents that experts deem to be genuine are another matter. But what happens next is anyone’s guess. China is certain not to modify its program to secure a region it regards as critical, since the government has never cared much about human cost, particularly of the non-Han. But confirmation of such large scale abuses should give prospective allies pause.

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86 comments

  1. Ignacio

    The China Cables are taking attention, finally, to Xinjiang and the Uighur while the more classy protests in HK have been the focus lately. As PK has written here, also tibetans are subject to repression. The cultural/ethnical repression of the Uighurs must have reached levels that made it impossible to contain them even in this remote region. The ethnical displacement of uighur and tibetan minorities by han, as well as the use of the Belt and Road Initiative to colonize, rather than collaborate with, central Asia countries has been largely ignored by media. Once it is aknowledged what to do? Will the US senate approve something like in HK? Is it practical? What are the UN saying, doing?

    Reply
  2. Hayek's Heelbiter

    After the Holocaust, in the 1950s and 1960s, liberal voices thundered, “We will never again let allow such conditions to re-occur!”

    Chinese oppression of the Uighurs has been going on since at least the 1980s (when friends were active in protest movements with Uighur exiles in the US) and almost no one (including) me had even heard of Uighurs.

    Where have all those liberal voices been? Where are they now?

    Isn’t silence acquiescence?

    Reply
    1. vlade

      TBH, anyone who paid at least a bit of attention to that region, knew about the treatment Chinese dish out to non-Han. Uigurs got the worst of it recently after some rioting and terrorist attacks IIRC late 2000s.

      China is totally, utterly, unwilling to let go of any of its territories (and Xinjiang has the misfortune of also being resource-rich), often saying “it has been part of Greater China for millenia”, which is almost always a fabricated lie, or, at least a similar claim by which the UK could claim half of the globe.

      The difference is, before Xi, China was careful at what became wider knowledge and what not. Under Xi, it became way more assertive about how it presented itself. In general, I can’t think of a historical period when that ended well – usually it ended with China splintering and then rebuilding.

      “话说天下大势.分久必合,合久必分”

      “The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been”

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        For anyone who tries the ‘its been part of China for millennia’ argument whenever the issue of alleged Chinese non-Imperialism comes up, just ask them to trace the line of the Great Wall and compare it to modern borders. And ask them why the Great Wall goes right through the middle of modern China.

        Reply
        1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          That region hasn’t been under Chinese control very long at all, really. Neither has Tibet been.

          Reply
          1. barefoot charley

            I happened to read 17th century correspondence from the Emperor with English traders representing their King, petitioning for more treaty ports. He replied that, while appreciating their gift-giving which affirmed their dependent status (all the world belongs to the Middle Kingdom, as he repeated), they had nothing worth getting but silver, so go to Canton, and bring silver. It’s this aspect of Chinese territoriality, concentric rings of influence, that Xi hearkens back to, naturally enough. To my mind it’s as good as “Our merchant adventurer wandered through there before your merchant adventurer did, so it’s rightfully ours.” Whatever excuse is the point of the spear, it ain’t followed by sweetness and light.

            Reply
          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The region first came under Chinese rule under the Qianlong emperor of the Qing dynasty, and was later named it Xinjiang (literally, new border). Three of Qianlong’s Ten Great Campaigns occurred there, though he did not fight Russia, but it was his grandfather, Kangxi, who battled the Tsar’s adventurists in order to save their Manchu homeland.

            The Chinese claim on Tibetan, if there is one, could be related to Princess Wencheng of the Tang dynasty over 1,000 years ago, who allegedly married Songtsen Gampo, founder of the Tibetan empire.

            On the other hand, China does not claim sovereignty over, say, Korea or Vietnam (at least I am not aware of them), but does with Tibet and Xinjiang.

            I suspect logic as mentioned in this comment is involved somehow.

            Furthermore, it’s quite possible that if it is so desired, China could claim Lake Baikal. For that, historical incidents, such as one involving the Han dynasty emissary, Su Wu, might be called upon.

            As always, Wikipedia is a good place to start (but not the ‘be all, end all’ source, naturally), for, say, Su Wu or Princess Wencheng, mentioned above.

            Reply
      2. PKMKII

        often saying “it has been part of Greater China for millenia”, which is almost always a fabricated lie

        A fabrication, yes, but it is an attitude that the powers in eastern China have had towards the western hinterlands, that they are a resource for the east to exploit and rule over, going back many centuries. What we’re seeing now is just a Dengist flavor of a geopolitical ideology that’s gone through many iterations.

        Reply
    2. Livius Drusus

      Liberals (and also many conservatives) believed in the theory that economic liberalization would produce political liberalization in China. Much like other theories of the neoliberal era, this idea has collapsed. If anything authoritarianism is actually on the rise and can be easily combined with policies like privatization and market deregulation. This theory was always silly as Pinochet’s Chile and other right-wing dictatorships of the Cold War disproved the idea that economic liberalization goes hand in hand with political liberalization.

      The “end of history” narratives produced in the glow of Western victory in the Cold War were all extremely faulty. Too many liberals think that history works on some kind of linear model where we are advancing inexorably toward a progressive future with the endpoint being something like the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek. To the contrary, it is very possible for authoritarian regimes to prosper in the modern world.

      One of the scariest lessons of the Chinese example is that people will put up with authoritarianism if they are provided with enough economic growth and consumerism. You could even argue that this applies to the West where even minor reforms are difficult to achieve. It is easy to ignore the suffering of the marginalized when the majority of the population is satisfied with consumerism and entertainment/propaganda.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        It wasn’t just Liberals and Conservatives who made that argument – I well remember plenty of leftists were very enthusiastic about the opening up of China in the late 1980’s and 90’s – many saw it as a way for China to adopt a softer socialism and become a model for other countries. But most who were paying attention changed their tune pretty quickly when they saw how enthusiastic the Party was about adopting a hybrid including the worst elements of authoritarianist Maoism with capitalism. Some, however, have not been paying attention.

        Reply
        1. bwilli123

          I think the long term Western Capital goal was to create an Oligarchic Class who would eventually challenge Party Control. China would divide into warring states (like for much of its history) which could be played against each other at the West’s convenience. Like Russia; rinse and repeat.
          Unfortunately the CCP had seen that play before. In terms of the Big Game, they have so far kept the Foreigners scoreless.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            There are three periods of division in China, after the unification by the First Emperor (of the Qin dynasty):

            1. The Period of Three Kingdoms (from 220AD to 280AD, roughly), following the Han dynasty, and ending with the founding of the Jin dynasty.

            2 North and South Dynasties (following the Jin dynasty above, ending with the unification under Sui dynasty) (280AD to 589AD)

            Alternatively, 1 and 2 above are referred to as the Six Dynasties (from 220 AD to 589 AD). We will say this is the first division lasting about 300 years.

            The second period of division followed the collapse of the great Tang dynasty, and is called Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms from 907AD to 979 AD. The legendary “Chai” kiln operated during one of the rulers during this period. Chai ware is even more precious than Ru ware (of that, there are less than 100 pieces in the world, and I believe, one was sold for over $20 million a few years ago). There is no known Chai ware…only legendary.

            The last major one is when Kaifeng was sacked, and two emperors captured by the Jurchens, resulting in a China split between the Jin and Southern Song (1127 AD to 1279 AD) dynasties. It ended with the Mongols conquering Hanzhou, its capital, though fighting continued until the baby emperor drowned in the aftermath of the Battle of Yemen.

            That battle occurred in present day Guangdong province, in a place (Jiangmen city) not far from Hong Kong.

            Roughly, about 500-600 years out of the last 2 millennia, China was divided (though not what II would say ‘for much of its history.’)

            Reply
      2. Peter

        What gets forgotten is that Neoliberalism and democracy are not necessarily compatible and that he protection of private property trumps any desire to maybe change its status and obligations. Property is paramount and if democratic elected governments act against the interest of the property owners, the state has to be weakened into inaction.
        In the German Grundgesetz an article actually states that “Property has obliges meaning it has o be used to the benefit of the whole society. This is an idea that the Mises school of neoliberalism would argue strongly against:

        Democracy, for Mises, was not an absolute value to be respected at all times. It was a good system insofar as it made peaceful, gradual change possible. Democracy’s “function is to make peace,” he wrote, “to avoid violent revolutions.” When it failed in that task, Mises thought that enforcing order by other means was preferable to letting democracy destroy the economic foundations of prosperity, as he understood them. Although it is frequently said that neoliberals want a weak state, in which the market can be left to do most of the work, that is not quite correct. Against the enemies of the market—economic nationalism and democratic demands—the state has to play a role, mostly by creating a system of laws that protects property and by representing enough force to deter challenges……………….
        The neoliberals sought, Slobodian writes, to “encase” markets, not to liberate them. Their project was not anarchy: It was a global system that sufficiently ordered the world so that capitalism would be safe from certain forms of political interference.

        https://newrepublic.com/article/147810/worlds-apart-neoliberalism-shapes-global-economy

        China is not so much a new type of government, having read (in translation) some of the classic literature and some of its history it reminds me more of a continuation of the old empire.
        And it is very far from any Marxist idea of the state withering away after the worker class has attained control of the means of production into a “free cooperation of free producers”, it is an elitist system that prevents any attempt by delving into capitalist ideology and the Stalinist model of state capitalism to prevent exactly that.

        Reply
        1. skippy

          So by chance that China is being a bit strong armed in its response to outcomes which have strong links to western radicalization, of a small percentage of the Muslim population for past reasons, would it be unreasonable to argue that the seemingly umbrage is about not dealing with this national concern with the use of drones and white phosphorus all whilst MIC and private contractors make packet because it broaches an almost Lockean sensibility of liberty and freedom … chortle ….

          Reply
    3. clarky90

      “Does China Sell ‘Halal Organs’ Harvested from Muslim Uyghurs to Saudi Arabia?”

      https://www.albawaba.com/node/does-china-sell-%E2%80%98halal-organs%E2%80%99-harvested-muslim-uyghurs-saudi-arabia-1292235

      I believe that the materialistic world-view is Satanic. Alistair Crowley said “Do as you will.” ie, anything is permitted. (A very bad idea, as Epstein et al are slowly revealing to us all.) People are seen as commodities, to be harvested/processed/exploited……Ironically, the soulless perpetrators are the actual degraded/diminished ones, not their innocent victims.

      The Judeo-Christian belief that ALL humans are made in the image of God, is the counter. Not shifting morality, but rather, immutable Devine Law. Slavery, murder, sexual crimes, labour exploitation, discrimination……… are unsupportable. How can anyone dishonor, this child of God?

      Reply
      1. Robo

        Lol, yes those idealists for hundreds of years had nothing to do with “slavery, murder, sexual crimes, labor exploitation, discrimination”, its been those damn godless materialists all along.

        Reply
        1. clarky90

          For instance, the abolition of slavery, in the UK and the USA, was a concerted campaign by good Christians.

          It is easy the find examples of hypocrisy and faux Christianity,. Many bad people use “fake religiousity” as a cloak.

          However a world ruled by unabashed, unrestrained materialism has been demonstrated in the USSR, the 3rd Reich, Maoist China……Bad news.

          I am concerned that the West is sliding into a godless dystopia, ruled by vegan billionaires driving electric, stainless steel pickup trucks! God help us!

          Reply
  3. PlutoniumKun

    This story is being widely disseminated by Chinese people outside China – although no doubt it will be censored on wechat. I first knew about the Irish Times story when a Chinese friend linked it to me last night (someone obviously not in China).

    The Chinese government has been very effective in ensuring relative silence around the West on this as money talks – especially in the academic world and in the media. So it doesn’t surprise me that much of the worlds media is reluctant to be too direct and forward on this, too many Universities are dependent on Chinese students, too many newspapers have owners with Chinese investments (or investors).

    A friend of mine lived in Urumqi 10 years ago, and even then he was reporting pretty intense repression of the Uighurs, mostly by way of forcing them out of positions of authority and the large scale displacement of population by ethnic Chinese.

    As Yves says, the Uighur lands are right in the middle of the Belt and Road highway – it is highly strategically important to the Chinese and they will not let a small matter like human rights stand in the way of their control of it. The Uighurs will not be allowed the sort of neutrality that has allowed Mongolians (on either side of the border) to run their own lives. Similarly with the Tibetans, but in the case of Tibet its all about water resources.

    One point though – I doubt if Beijing has actually drawn up the detailed proposals for what is happening in a remote province. What usually happens in China is that the leadership makes a ‘suggestion’ as a strategic aim, and it is up to local officials to come up with the best way to implement the strategy. Its probably been made very clear to local officials that there shall be no trouble from local minorities, its up to them to make sure that happens. If a strategy of extreme repression works, it will be seen as a success. The flip side is that if international pressure makes it unsustainable, they’ll try something else.

    Reply
  4. cnchal

    > . . . “The issue Xinjiang faces is not about ethnicity, religion or human rights,” he said in a statement. “Rather, it is about fighting violence, terrorism and separatism.”

    That is the same language used to justify the Orwellian named Patriot Act. My conclusion is, that’s what they all say, they being the power hungry politicians, which would be almost all of them.

    Note how working conditions in the Chinese factories making your attention sucking electronic self spy devices, euphemisticall called a “smart” phone is being forced onto workers here, the prime example being an Amazon warehouse worker tied to Bezos’ whipping posts, and another recent example of this fast spreading totalitarianism is the State of Wisconsin passing a law making protest illegal.

    Spy cameras on every corner, tied into an AI algorithm to determine who is next to be tortured. We aren’t that crass and classless yet. We put them in doorbells instead and the “threat determining algorithm” is being developed as you sleep.

    The Chinese are just way ahead of the curve to what’s coming for all of us. The system is being tested and perfected, and is already being sold worldwide. The market speaks volumes.

    Reply
  5. xkeyscored

    It’s worth remembering US incarceration numbers and rates here.
    USA: 655 per 100,000; 2,121,600 total; 21.6% of whom unsentenced
    China: 118 per 100,000; 1,649,804 total
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate
    Even adding Business Insider’s estimate of 2 million Uighurs, China’s incarceration rate comes out at around 263 per 100,000 by my rough calculations.
    Nor is the US averse to censorship in its prisons.
    https://bookriot.com/2019/10/21/censorship-in-american-prisons/
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/26/us-prisons-ban-thousands-of-books-on-arbitrary-grounds-banned-books-week
    Not that any of this excuses what China is doing, but let’s have a little perspective.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      Pot meet Kettle!

      Thank you. This is another deflection exercise in the US.
      aka: When in trouble at home go adventuring abroad.

      I’d add the “freedoms” Neo-liberalism has wrought – freedom from pernicious health care, freedom from having to maintain and home and so on.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        WTH? I can talk about the evil in the centuries of American history including the colonial period, all day and all night, but come on.

        The government has just effectively imprisonment eleven million people for the “crimes” of being different and being in the way of profitable trade; that is greater than the separate populations of 49 of the 56 states, territories, and the District of Columbia of the United States of America, or the entire San Francisco Bay Area.

        At some point, saying what about those people is just excuse making. Unless you think that the eleven million dead of the Holocaust diminishes the horrors of the Stalinist Soviet Union including the Great Terror (Great Purge), the mass deportations, the Gulag Archipelago, and Katyn Forest?

        Evil is evil regardless of the scale

        Reply
        1. Synoia

          I am agreeing with you, and also pointing out that the issues in the world tend to be interconnected.

          I’m as interested in the “why” (root cause) as well as the “what”. Little happens in isolation.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think perhaps ‘the US’ in your original comment stood out.

            We tend to see a given situation as involving the US, Russia, China or some other powers, though there are other people around the world. A person in, say, Fiji, might be critical of the what is happening in Xinjiang, but he or she has nothing to do with the US.

            And so, what a country does is answerable to all the people of the world, today, and in the future. It becomes more than just ‘what about the US.’

            Reply
    2. teacup

      Years ago I did a brief stint in LA county’s ‘twin towers’ jail based on trumped up charges. There was a constant rerun stream of the Maury Povich Show blasting on the one television in each of the jail ‘pods’. Talk about torture….

      Reply
    3. Baby Gerald

      Thanks for bringing the perspective into focus, xkeyscored. While reading the article I kept thinking to myself that it is in fact the god-fearing U S of A which just happens to have both the largest number and percentage of its citizens interred and your post confirmed these suspicions. And I had to stifle a chuckle at the part of the story where it gets all sanctimonious about how the mean Chinese are using their captives as conscripted labor, as if that isn’t the case here, as well.

      I’d also like to mention that these poor Uighurs aren’t all innocent victims in all of this. Look up ‘Uighur knife attack’ in a search window and you’ll learn that they have plenty of blood on their hands, as well. For instance, on March 1, 2014, eight Uighur separatists [two female, six male] ‘pulled out long-bladed knives and stabbed and slashed passengers’ in the Kunming Railway station, killing thirty-one and injuring 140 others.

      Six years earlier a similar attack using machetes and grenades killed sixteen and injured sixteen others in the city of Kashgar.

      The city of Kashgar was host to yet another series of Uighur separatist attacks in 2011, this time with 23 dead and 42 injured over two days of violence. Also in 2011, a group of fifteen Uighurs on their way to Pakistani jihadist training camps became involved in the kidnapping of two goatherds, culminating in the rescue of their captives and the death of seven of the hostage takers.

      These Uighurs sure do love their machetes, because eight of them perpetrated another attack on pedestrians in the remote town of Yecheng again in 2012, killing sixteen and injuring eighteen more before they were all killed and their attack halted.

      They tried to step up their game and pull off an airline hijacking in 2012, but this resulted in all eight attackers being neutralized by the crew and passengers, leaving two of the hijackers dead from their injuries with the other six facing death sentences.

      According to various sources, the Uighur separatists as well as the Turkistan Islamic Party which also operates on the western edge of China have Al Qaeda affiliations and likely also CIA sponsorship. Dave Emory’s ‘For The Record’ radio program has frequently referenced ties between the Uighur Separatists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaeda, most recently in an October broadcast in a series about the Destabilization of China. So forgive me if I take these one-sided accounts of Chinese repression of their minority Uighurs with a grain of salt.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The question under discussion is whether there are so many people in those camps.

        If we look at the incidents you listed, and the groups connected, are we to assume that you are saying there was reasons why China had to act the way they are said to have acted? That is, the reports are corrected. And China acted for these reasons (see incidents above).

        Reply
  6. JTMcPhee

    So our deep charitable state, looking at all this, which must be well known to its analysts and rulership, no doubt has worked up the programs to bring this level of upward mobility to higher “citizenship” to communities near or very near to you and me.

    Aw, that would just be indulging in conspiracy theories, of course. Never happen here, in our democracy, with all our freedoms. I imagine the Boltons and Pences and Kochs and Dimons and of course Gateses and Soroses of this age are repulsed by this set of “policies” (root word ‘police”), totally.

    Never let a good example of successful “bad behavior” go to waste, right?

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Yeah, they did that already over a decade ago JT. Anybody else remember Halliburton getting a contract to build detention centers on US soil? At the time nobody seemed to know what they would be used for.

      I just looked it up again and found this: https://www.projectcensored.org/14-homeland-security-contracts-kbr-to-build-detention-centers-in-the-us/

      From the above link, it seems as if that contract might have gone to build all the “children in cages” ICE detention centers we keep hearing about in recent years. Built by Bush, plenty of children there during the Obama administration, but all Trump’s fault.

      One wonders what other facilities may have been built that we don’t know about…

      Reply
    2. Briny

      Many years back, I used to ride my bike several times a day by one of those Native American High Schools, so there is no coming soon aspect here. The strange thing was, in all those years, I’d see cars parked there but not once did I see a single student or staff walking, or playing for the students, there.

      Reply
    1. Olga

      We do not – that’s just it. But to the extent that it confirms the prevalent (and increasingly strong) anti-China bias, let’s just run with it. Similar reports have been “published” several times, only to be later debunked. I am reserving my judgement…

      Reply
      1. Luke Carus

        Hmm, reserving judgement can be good, but “…that’s just it” is I think a bit too strong. To wonder is all too human, and countless opinions will be formed, hardened and wielded like swords well before the truth of this is uncovered.

        Occam’s Razor then comes to mind, prompting me to wonder, to what end would those “making this up” be aiming at by perpetrating such a complex and difficult hoax? Saving the non-oppressed Uighurs? Overthrowing the Chinese communist regime that’s not doing this?

        On the contrary, the value such a penal system might serve for the Chinese government and its supporters is relatively easy to understand. What do you think is going on here?

        Reply
        1. Peter

          https://ctc.usma.edu/uighur-dissent-and-militancy-in-chinas-xinjiang-province/

          The nature and scope of the violence in Urumqi in July 2009 and the increasing international interest among Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the Uighur question will impact the future of the region. By all accounts, China will continue to treat the Uighur question as a vital security matter. In doing so, it will go to great lengths to root out all forms of dissent, peaceful or violent, under the guise of counterterrorism. Meanwhile, al-Qa`ida’s foray into the politics of Xinjiang should remain cause for further observation. Yet it is unlikely that the group will set their sights on China in the near future when there are far more pressing issues at hand, such as striking their primary targets: the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests abroad.

          One wonders how the USA would have reacted against Muslims groups in the USA if al-Qa`ida had made similar statements in support.
          And one should also not forget that according to PEW research over 10% of Muslims worldwide – some 180 million or so – support Terrorist acts in the name of Islam.

          Anyone who thinks those are insignificant numbers needs to examine his/her connection to reality. Not all Muslims are terrorists – but most terrorist today are of Muslim background.

          https://icct.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ClarkeKan-Uighur-Foreign-Fighters-An-Underexamined-Jihadist-Challenge-Nov-2017-1.pdf

          Beijing could very well be exaggerating the threat posed by its Uighur minority or could be suppressing it to inspire investment and instill confidence in government leadership.
          In either case, the difficulty in reporting from this area leaves it unclear which narrative is more accurate. Several experts on China’s Uighur minority, including George Washington University cultural anthropologist Sean R. Roberts, have called the situation in Xinjiang a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” as “Beijing’s exaggeration of the threat it faced from Uighurs in the early 2000s resulted in increasingly repressive policies that have intensified discontent in the region and helped push more and more Uighurs
          toward militancy.”57

          So yes, I am with Olga in being careful in light of all the Propaganda that preceded US interventions since way before 9/11, from South America to Asia to Ukraine to wherever the US stirs the pot for its geopolitical and financial interests.

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            Yet it is unlikely that the group [al-Qaeda] will set their sights on China in the near future when there are far more pressing issues at hand, such as striking their primary targets: the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests abroad.
            al-Qaeda’s declared policy used to be about striking the US and its interests, and maybe it still is. But their biggest venture in recent years has probably been in Syria, where they’ve basically gained control of an entire province, and with enthusiastic and public US support once their affiliate Jabhat al Nusra renamed itself and officially disaffiliated. Xinjiang may hold a similar appeal for them.

            Reply
        2. hunkerdown

          Human Rights Watch, among others, has been fronting for Western regime change under R2P pretexts for years. They may as well be deep-state cutouts by this point. And it’s a bit fantastic to get “ZOMG systematic torture” out of “preventing abnormal deaths” when a reasonable reading suggests they simply want to avoid policing like IDF-trained cops in the US and elsewhere. Adrian Zenz, a professor at a religious school offering online degrees, and “a Senior Fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation”, strikes me as no more reliable than HRW. “Experts” in what?

          Occam’s Razor applied: It is fundamental and self-evident that people will lie to keep their jobs. It’s not hard to gin up fake atrocities when the entire deep state’s jobs depend upon it. Delaying Chinese dominance is an existential Western priority. A close secondary priority is to provide credible protection for returning Western-backed moderate head-choppers and their families so that the West can still hire mercenaries under the table to sabotage the Belt and Road, or for whatever other purposes that suit them.

          Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Why not read the article. As Yves says:

      I take these leaks at face value because not only have human rights advocates been describing large-scale detention of Uighurs for the better part of two years, I have also heard about them from credible sources when I am not at all plugged into China. Because these contacts have and in come cases continue to operate in China, accounts like this are against their commercial interest. They come from individuals who have visited the Xinjiang region and depict the surveillance and oppression of the Uighur as well known

      Anyone who has been paying attention to China for the past few years has been aware of a ramping up of extreme pressure on the Uighur people. This is no surprise at all.

      Reply
    3. Blue Pilgrim

      Exactly. I’m still hearing the politicians here, with much support from the media, saying that Russia invaded Ukraine (where it had Nazis do a coup), and the rest of the rubbish about Russia. I also here hear them cheering the violence against citizens and police in Hong Kong, urged on by the US and NGOs, and how the coup in Bolivia is such a victory for democracy. The US make up lies constantly, and forges and mistranslates documents, hires agents of deception, corrupts organizations, and is now run by the ‘deep state’ and the military, industrial, intelligence, media, etc. complex (‘Big Brother’), and is utterly untrustworthy.

      Additionally, it’s China’s problem and the US and West has no business interfering in all the countries of the world as it is currently doing, destroying nations and people in the name of ‘human rights’ and ‘democracy’.

      Reply
  7. Matthew G. Saroff

    Why is the “G Word”, Genocide, mentioned no where.

    It is clearly an attempt to destroy the unique ethnic characteristics of a community, and particularly when juxtaposed with the policy of transferring Han Chinese into outlying areas, fits the generally definition of this particular crime against humanity.

    Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    I am going to play Devil’s Advocate here for a simple reason. I was watching the evening news a few hours ago and it had a whole series of anti-China stories on it as if it was some sort of propaganda campaign. At one point they suggested that Members of Parliament be vetted by our spook organization – ASIO – as there were “questions” about a Chinese-Australian Parliamentarian. No word if they plan to do the same with other Parliamentarians that may have “dual-interests” say, with Israel for example?
    OK, so some context. China in land territory is roughly the same as the United States but has a population of 1.4 billion people. I have no idea how you run a country with that number of people. Now look at the United States in comparison. In 1980 when Reagan came in, there were 226 million Americans. There are now 327 million Americans and think of how much has changed in how things are done. Now think about what it would be like living in a America with a population of 1.4 billion Americans. Can you imagine what that would be like?
    How about I present a scenario that must have been in the mind of the Chinese which explains their actions with the Uyghurs. Yes the Chinese can be total d**** but try this alternate time-line. After the battle-trained Uyghurs return from Syria, the First Uyghur War starts and they find support in the Saudi-funded madrassas which teach the local Muslims Wahhabism. Despite overwhelming superiority in men, weaponry, and air support they find it hard going and hundreds of Chinese tanks are destroyed by CIA-supplied ATGMs. Chinese protests about this advanced weaponry are dismissed and the rat lines keep bringing in weapons, supplies and Jihadists from Syria. ISIS become established in this region. Casualties mount in a brutal guerilla campaign and a bombing and terrorist campaign is launched in Beijing killing hundreds of people, including attacks on schools.
    Eventually after reforming their Army, the Second Uyghur War commences and the Chinese go in and eventually win the insurgency war but at a frightening cost. The whole region is devastated and tens of thousands are dead but western interests are served to tie up the Chinese in a different part of the country. After a steady stream of support from the western media, the Uyghurs are dropped from mention as the whole region is now one militarized region. If someone is prepared to argue that the CIA would never have plans for such a Uyghur project, I would be very much interested in hearing why. But I bet that the Chinese suspected the existence of such plans.

    Reply
    1. bwilli123

      China has just to roll over in bed and 20 million people die. So what does avoiding that fact give them license to do? Repression? Labour Camps? Guantanamo Bay? Total Surveillance?
      What is the Greater Good?

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        To speculate: The US’ ME adventures are designed to cause turmoil and Chaos along the Silk Road.

        Or is it just an unintended consequence?

        Reply
    2. xkeyscored

      Whether or not the US and CIA had such plans, Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda were almost certainly thinking along those lines.

      Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Pretty bad that. Now try putting in the search term ‘Israel destroys muslim cemeteries’ into Google and see what comes back.

      Reply
  9. Alternate Delegate

    Orwell couldn’t have foreseen the new tools or the kind of total police state that is now possible.

    They came for the Uighurs first. No one should have any illusions they won’t come for you next, in China or in the US. If it works on the Uighurs, China is only the first of many repressive states that will use these tools. After 1945 we should understand that means China no longer has any such thing as “internal affairs”. The new Chinese model is a lethal threat to everyone in the world.

    If the democracy movement in HK is massacred, the room for peaceful reform will shrink drastically. I don’t believe that either Europe or the US will be able to isolate themselves from the consequences. In the words of the old union song, “which side are you on”?

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      I think Orwell foresaw the new tools with remarkable accuracy, given how long ago he was writing. The ubiquitous screen that spews propaganda and spies on everything you do? He just got the size wrong.

      Reply
  10. Johny Conspiranoid

    I see we’re being preped for regime change in China then.

    Fat chance.

    If you google International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, you’ll pages of entries that actually come from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. some of them boast of their involvement with the BBC, Guardian and Washington Post. This says it all.

    Reply
    1. Jon Cloke

      Wasn’t it the ICIJ that was going to spill the beans on the Panama Papers, warts and all, cherry-picked them for stuff about Putin and Putin-cronies, then just didn’t bother with anything else?

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Make stuff up much? The ICIJ’s o-called Paradise Papers pointed plenty of fingers, including at the Queen, Trump administration members, members of the UK cabinet, and buddies of Trudeau. From the Telegraph:

        The Queen’s private estate, Bono and one of Donald Trump’s closest advisors are among those whose offshore investments have been revealed in one of the largest ever leaks, dubbed the “Paradise Papers”.

        The 13.4 million files, which were obtained after a hack on law firm Appleby which has offices in Bermuda, the Isle of Man and a number of other tax havens, show the complex financial dealings of the super-rich and major global corporations.

        Tory donor Lord Michael Ashcroft, Donald Trump’s advisor Wilbur Ross and Arsenal football club stakeholder Alisher Usmanov have been named in the documents alongside Stephen Bronfman, chief fundraiser and senior adviser to the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau and a dozen of Trump administration advisers, Cabinet members or major donors who appeared in the records.

        Mr Trump’s allies who are named in the Paradise Papers also include Gary Cohn, his chief economic adviser, Rex Tillerson, secretary of state, Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary, Randal Quarles, vice-chairman for supervision at the Federal Reserve, Jon Huntsman, ambassador to Russia….

        They documents show that in 2005 the Queen’s private estate invested £5.73 million in Dover Street VI Cayman Fund LP, held on the Cayman Islands, which in turn invested in BrightHouse, a rent-to-own firm which has been criticised for irresponsible lending, and off-licence chain Threshers.

        A further £5 million had been invested in 2004 in the Bermuda-based Jubilee Absolute Return Fund Ltd.

        The Queen does not manage the Duchy of Lancaster’s investments, which are decided by a council, and pays tax voluntarily on any income…..

        The Paradise Papers were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/05/paradise-papers-queen-bono-kept-money-offshore-funds-leaked/

        And on the Paradise Papers, the most important finding was the number of heads of state involved. There is also a long list of government officials. From Wikipedia:

        Heads of state

        Argentina Mauricio Macri, President of Argentina [1]
        Petro Poroshenko
        Salman of Saudi Arabia, King of Saudi Arabia [1]
        Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Abu Dhabi[1]

        Former heads of state

        Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine[1]
        Ecuador Rafael Correa, former President of Ecuador[2]
        Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, former Emir of Qatar,[1] is listed as owner of Afrodille S.A., which had a bank account in Luxembourg and shares in two South African companies. Al Thani also held a majority of the shares in Rienne S.A. and Yalis S.A., holding a term deposit with the Bank of China in Luxembourg. A relative owned 25% of these: Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s former prime minister and foreign minister.[3]
        Sudan Ahmed al-Mirghani, President of Sudan[1]Sudanese president Ahmed al-Mirghani, who was president from 1986–1989 and died in 2008.[1][4]

        Former heads of government

        Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson left office in April 2016 following the Panama Papers revelations

        Iceland Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, former Prime Minister of Iceland, left office in April 2016 as a result the Panama Papers revelations[1][5]
        Italy Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of Italy[6]
        Georgia (country) Bidzina Ivanishvili, former Prime Minister of Georgia[1]
        Ukraine Pavlo Lazarenko, former Prime Minister of Ukraine[1]
        Moldova Ion Sturza, former Prime Minister of Moldova[7][8][9][10]
        Iraq Ayad Allawi, former Acting Prime Minister of Iraq[1]
        Jordan Ali Abu al-Ragheb, former Prime Minister of Jordan[1][11]
        Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan and a member of the Bhutto family[12]
        Qatar Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, former Prime Minister of Qatar[1]
        Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan[1]
        Australia Malcolm Turnbull, former Prime Minister of Australia[13]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_named_in_the_Panama_Papers

        It was the US press accounts that cherry picked what the ICIJ found.

        Panama is also not the preferred money laundering center for the US, which is why Americans didn’t have high representation.

        You’ll notice that story died awfully quickly.

        Reply
    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, come on. The US is not going to intervene on behalf of 11 million mainly Muslims in a country of 1.2 billion or so. We’e already applying as much pressure as we can for general geopolitical reasons with our tariff gaslighting. The US can’t even harrumph credibly given our tolerance for what Israel is doing in Palestine and our high incarceration rate of blacks.

      All sorts of celebrities have taken up the cause of Tibet and nothing happened. By contrast, the Uighurs don’t have a fanbase.

      Reply
    3. xkeyscored

      some of them boast of their involvement with the BBC, Guardian and Washington Post. This says it all.
      Huh? Does involvement with these bodies automatically make one an indubitable liar?
      I’m often inclined to quote them in preference to sources such as Naked Capitalism, depending on my audience, as to do the latter can invite instant ridicule and dismissal. They remain excellent ways to follow the news, even if caution needs exercising in accepting their version, let alone their interpretation (extreme caution where some subjects are concerned).

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Thanks for pointing out the cognitive bias called halo effect.

        The fact that the Washington Post hasn”t covered itself with glory on RussiaRussia! does not mean it does not also break legitimate, well researched news stories. Ditto the BBC and Guardian. The BBC just published a monster piece on the OneCoin woman who defrauded people of at least $4 billion and as much at $15 billion.

        And we pointed out it was the Irish Times, which is in the EU, and the EU is not part of the Five Eyes, did what looks like the most extensive additional reporting.

        Reply
    1. Blue Pilgrim

      “On November 16, The New York Times’ China correspondents, Chris Buckley and Austin Ramzy, published an exposé” is a red flag for me. There have been way too many lies from the NYT to trust anything it publishes, and they are constantly supporting waging war.

      Reply
      1. False Solace

        Oh, brother. The Times reports the weather, too. Since when does that make it automatically false.

        This article has so many people crawling out of the woodwork who need to brush up on their critical thinking.

        Reply
        1. Blue Pilgrim

          I remember Judith Miller, and all the lies since. I didn’t say everything is lie, but that many things are, and NYT can’t be trusted (as with the rest of western corporate and ‘main stream’ media. And that isn’t ad hominem, or lack of critical thinking, but factually based.

          Reply
  11. Frank Little

    Amazing how flexible the terms ‘rehabilitation’ or ‘reeducation’ are in covering for a range of state violence and abuse. I wonder if the administrators of the camps in Xinjiang are constantly telling the CCP higher ups that they need more funds whenever problems arise just like prison administrators do here.

    I’m inclined to believe the stories coming out of Xinjiang even if I’m normally skeptical of outlets like the Victims of Communism (Adrian Zenz, often presented as an independent researcher under his byline, is a fellow there) because building more sophisticated and invasive surveillance and prison systems seems to be the knee-jerk response of practically every government of sufficient size these days. There are plenty of security contractors who are looking to take their business global and you don’t get very far in that business by asking deep questions about what you’re doing and who you’re doing it to.

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      Australia might have been an example closer to home. Another deliberate genocide, in the sense of an organised attempt to eliminate a culture, as far as I can see.
      “Official government estimates are that in certain regions between one in ten and one in three Indigenous Australian children were forcibly taken from their families and communities between 1910 and 1970.”
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_Generations

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, that was pretty bad back then. When the do-gooders pulled into an Aboriginal reserve, usually with the police in tow, all the Aboriginal kids learned to do a runner towards the nearest horizon if they did not want to be kidnapped. And it was all legal.

        Reply
        1. bwilli123

          What is generally unacknowledged is that this forced separation policy was in widespread use across the British Empire and beyond.
          By the date of his death (1905) “18,000 had been sent to Canada and Australia” by Dr. Barnado an evangelican Christian.
          http://infed.org/mobi/thomas-john-barnardo-the-doctor/
          “…Between 1945 and 1974, Dr. Barnado’s supported and participated in colonisation policies that saw around 150,000 children exported to imperial colonies where they were mostly abused, beaten and neglected..”
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnardo%27s
          The parents were mostly not informed unless they were of “good character”, or after the boat had sailed.
          https://canadianbritishhomechildren.weebly.com/bhc-fact-page.html
          So are we talking 200,00 at a minimum from just one of the Actors in this market?
          In Australia you would have to add the children brought from war-torn Europe by Catholic Charities, and then the re-locations that took place purely within Australia for children who found themselves without a Mother or because of violent or alcoholic parents.
          The point of all these interventions was that they were done in what was seen as the best interest of the children. However mistaken, or blindly arrogant it now seems in retrospect.
          They were also fodder for their respective Churches adoptions pools.
          The only intervention that I am aware of that was punitive in nature was that adopted by the Catholic Church towards “unwed mothers. The Magdalene Laundries and associated Convent Convict System that persisted ( in Australia at least) until the 1970’s
          “https://longreads.com/2019/11/11/brigid-magdalene-my-mother-and-me/
          Needles to say, like the Democrats who defend themselves by accusing Republicans of the sins that they have themselves committed, there is precious little admission of the Churches leading role in these forced separations (whatever the originating circumstances)
          The so far successful Christian Resistance, aided by the Identity Pol. Left has managed to shift the entire financial burden onto the general taxpayer (in the case of the ‘Stolen Generations’) and avoided any discussion of it’s active complicity (much less financial recompense) in the wider context referred to above.
          I’m happy to discuss further having had some years of personal experience in the Catholic System.

          Reply
  12. ptb

    Yep, this is the stalinist side of China on full display.
    The state does not handle non integration well and this is where that aspect of it causes a breakdown.

    Here we have differences in religion, ethnicity, language, population growth rate. The n-child policy was relaxed for rural minorities, this was “balanced” by shipping in Chinese of Han ethnicity, who you have to figure are allowed to climb the ladder faster. That right away is a situation that certainly isn’t going to create trust.

    Then, at the far end of the spectrum of not being integrated into the national culture, which the Chinese system requires, you have recurring episodes of separatism, violence, and in neighboring countries, war, and in some of those, pretty systematic incitement (spanning the entire spectrum described above) by larger countries China considers strategic threats. That makes peaceful integration almost impossible, although was not really going to happen anyhow. All the neighboring countries or sub-national regions reached wherever equilibrium they now have as a result of violent struggles, many quite recent (i.e. post 1990 in some of the central asian republics, others went through the process under the USSR and it was far from smooth or humane). Afghanistan, of course, is the ultimate anti-pattern here.

    The magic fairy solution would be to create an autonomous republic, as in an actual country, in which case it would probably be a s☆☆☆ty dictatorship, for all intents and purposes a commercial subsidiary of China, probably with a localized outback stalinism in the small scale, but at least without the internment camps. Alas, this wouldn’t fly in light of the One China doctrine.

    Certainly it is really important to raise awareness of this, so that to whatever degree possible, those who are in a position to say anything can put some pressure so that China doesn’t just go about the “assimilation” process by brute force. That is not the direction to go as the country’s global presence grows.

    Equally important is that it is a warning of where the technology of the surveillance state is going. That includes both China and US.

    Reply
  13. skippy

    Stripping off the moral umbrage in a comparative out look the management of resources and Muslim* locals [*at a minimum] is not something the West can plea from a moral or ethical high ground.

    Not that the timing of this in MSM is suspect.

    Least the framing of Liberalizing China through economic means has a faint ring of why Japan kicked out priests and Jesuits or advancing the Corporatism agenda – run around non compliant political systems via capital and investors under the auspices of market machinations.

    Reply
  14. Baby Gerald

    My previous comment was moderated out of existence, so I’ll try again. All of the events cited below can be referenced online – I’ll omit the links [to wikipedia in each case] that were in my first post lest that was the reason it was flagged, but readers can do the research and let me know if they find anything contradicting my claims.

    We are led to believe by the truth tellers in our Western media that the Uighurs are innocent victims of ethnic oppression. ‘China has accused militant Uighurs of being terrorists and inciting violence across the country since at least the early 2000s, as many Uighur separatists left China for places like Afghanistan and Syria to become fighters.’ says the story from Business Insider, choosing to brush over these claims, essentially scoffing them off as China’s invented excuse to carry out this [gasp!] economic exploitation of the region’s indigenous population.

    Look up ‘Uighur knife attack’ in a search window and you’ll learn that the Uighur minority have plenty of blood on their hands, as well. Going way back. To name a few in the past decade or so:

    • 2008: eight Uighur separatists killed sixteen and injured sixteen others in the city of Kashgar in an attack using long-bladed knives and grenades.
    • 2011: Kashgar was host to yet another series of Uighur separatist attacks this time with 23 dead and 42 injured over two days of violence.

    Also in 2011, a group of fifteen Uighurs supposedly on their way to Pakistani jihadist training camps became involved in the kidnapping of two goatherds, culminating in the rescue of their captives and the death of seven of the hostage takers.

    • 2012: in the remote town of Yecheng eight Uighur separatists perpetrated another attack on pedestrians with machetes, killing sixteen and injuring eighteen more.

    They also tried to step up their game and pull off an airline hijacking in 2012, but this resulted in all eight attackers being neutralized by the crew and passengers, leaving two of the hijackers dead from their injuries with the other six facing death sentences.

    • 2014: On March 1, eight Uighur separatists [two female, six male] ‘pulled out long-bladed knives and stabbed and slashed passengers’ in the Kunming Railway station, killing thirty-one and injuring 140 others.

    I find it odd and a little more than coincidental that they like to attack in groups of eight. They often use co-ed teams of attackers, as well. And they sure like their machetes. At any rate, I’d posit that if there was an organized group carrying out attacks of this scale and repetition here in the US, we’d be interning them with extreme prejudice, as well. And we’d probably work them for below-value wages and in less-than-favorable conditions while doing so.

    All of this leaves out the consideration that these Uighur separatists (as well as their neighbors in the Turkistan Islamic Party which also operates on the western edge of China) have overt Al Qaeda affiliations and possibly covert CIA/NED/CFR endorsement.

    So forgive me if I take these one-sided accounts of Chinese repression of their minority Uighurs with a grain of salt and wonder if maybe we’re supposed to worry about the Uighurs the same way we’re supposed to worry about the Kurds or whatever other group our intelligence spooks have manufactured into useful victims for our foreign policy saviors to redeem.

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    1. Blue Pilgrim

      From I have heard (and I have not been following this closely, not like Ukraine or Syria, for instance), it is a minority of the Uighurs who are responsible for the terrorism — much like ISIS, DAESH, or whatever in Syria. But the US (and UK) has a history of training and arming terrorists to fight in proxy wars, including, information war. (White Helmets, for example).

      Now, China has nothing like western democracy, and is rather authoritarian, and yet it has done great things for the Chinese people, even while under imperialist attacks. It is a very different culture and country from the US or EU, and largely incomparable, and it is the Chinese who are the proper people to deal with Chinese problems. I’ll tell the US, and the West, to take the beam out of it’s own eye before trying to impose it’s ideas and standards on others, or do more regime-change-wars or creating more ‘Libyas’. The US is the last one I look to for upholding human rights.

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    2. michael wade

      Curious in N.C. Wonder if anyone could supply me with any credible sources on what’s going on with the Uighur situation in China that DOESN”T take either side too strongly. There seems to be ample evidence for Chinese high-handedness there, but I’m also wary of the influence of Western intelligence and media bias in much of the reporting. Can anyone point me to some fair minded analysis in this controversy?

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      1. Blue Pilgrim

        Look for article ‘Is China Building a “Police State” or Countering Western-sponsored Terrorism?’ by Joseph Thomas

        Reply
  15. tangfwa

    Excellent discussion in the comments, though it’s strange to see people who understand Honduras/Bolivia/Libya/Syria having blinders on for China. I don’t doubt that real outsiders have witnessed real oppressions/ repressions by China of Uighurs. China isn’t like the USA in how it operates; the USA’s extraordinary incarceration figures plus the millions of victims of our military and capitalist ventures highlight that.

    I doubt that western capital isn’t trying to foment color revolution in Xinjiang. The region is valuable for all kinds of reasons, including natural resources and access across the huge Eurasian landmass to/from Everywhere. The comments about Uighur fighters returning from Syria were illuminating.

    Great Game/ Grand Chessboard continues; why wouldn’t it? It behooves liberal capitalists to cast this as yet another identity politics issue, but Communist China is made up of numerous so-called ethnicities who have been lifted up by real standard of living measures like literacy and health care access.

    What the heck is “authoritarian,” exactly, some kind of discredited horseshoe theory? Pretty racist to demand that Chinese keep their consumption to your prescribed standards for them, while the western individual has consumed 17x the resources of one Chinese.

    Western capital is pretty darn authoritarian, if you’ve seen the wretched homelessness and hunger in the bellies of the beast: NYC, LA and London.

    The comments were pretty bleak in the morning for their western capitalist propaganda, but the conversation deepened by afternoon. Thanks as always, NC, for all the details and links to fill in the picture.

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  16. Fritzi

    While I have no doubt that the Chinese government is capable of the most extreme ruthlessness, it is worth pointing out that Adrian Zenz who is cited as an expert is definitely not an innocent, objective expert, and most likely not an expert at all, at least not in the fields he seems to to claim expertise for here (and also, he almost certainly does not give a flying *family blog* about the Uighurs).

    Quite the colorful fellow, keeping colorful company, worth having a closer look at.

    Works at the European School of Culture and Theology in Korn talks Baden-Württemberg, part of a network of ultra right wing fundagelical God botherer organisations, who in turn are quite closely allied with a further network of cold warriors, regime changers, McCarthyites and agents of Empire par excellence.

    Senior Fellow for China Studies at the “Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation”, a “think tank” founded in 1993 by Lev Dobriansky, Grover Norquist and Zbignew Brzezinski, chaired by one Lee Edwards, founder of the American Division (chapter?, whatever term they may use) of the World Anti Communist League and former member of the Commitee for a Free China, advised by retired major general John K. Singlaub, apparently one of the founding fathers of the CIA, and co-founder of the Western Goals Foundation, who seemingly were heavily involved in organizing the arms shipments to the Contras in Nicaragua, and were described as “a collection of Nazis, Fascists, Antisemites, malicious racists and corrupt egotists” by a former member.

    In any case, they are very closely associated with US Intelligence and the MIC, and apparently have a previous history of cooking up arguments for regime change operations in Latin America.

    It looks like most of German media get their information from this guy as well, who hasn’t set foot into China in the last twelve years (he was visited Xinjiang only once before as a tourist), who does not seem to be an actual scientist at all, and uses at least some sources and methods that are quite doubtful.

    There was a FAZ article “Der Mann mit der Million” where he described how he got his numbers and admitted to them being highly speculative, none of the major German news media ever told their viewers and readers anything about his background and qualification.

    To me this seems to be the tip of some larger iceberg, again, no doubt about the Uighurs being treated horrendously, but there is definitely some serious attempts at disinformation going on as well.

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  17. Robin Kash

    I wonder how what the Chinese are doing compared to the Israeli occupation. Gaza, the world’s largest internment camp, is “home” to 1.9 million–most of whom are Palestinian refugees–who are regularly used for weapons testing, punctuating extended periods of no electricity, undrinkable water, a restricted coastline, devastated infrastructure.
    Then there’s the West Bank, dotted with illegal Jewish settlements.
    You’d think the Israelis would know better, and do better. But clearly, they do not.
    Doubtless, the Chinese need no tutors or examples such as supplied by Israelis.

    Reply
  18. RBHoughton

    Well, I’ll take a chance on being stoned or set on fire and respond,

    I was told that UK cancels the passports of terrorists returning from NATO’s Middle Eastern wars. That transfers the domestic problem elsewhere. I am unsure how other European countries deal with the matter. I thought the Chinese approach was reasonable. The ISIS member comes back from Turkey and is rehabilitated to wean him from the radical Wahhabi philosophy instilled in him by ISIS.

    When the west was fighting for the KMT in China during and after WWII our chaps who were caught spoke of being brainwashed. They had to explain why they had come to China and none of them could do so, hence the protest of torture. Like the Nazi Judges and policemen at Nuremberg they were only following orders – “ours not to reason why, our but to do or die.” I have no personal knowledge but suppose this is what is happening to terrorists returning from Turkey. They are being tasked with look to their innermost rationale for what they have done.

    Its my understanding that the Uighurs in Sinkiang since Jehangir’s rebellion have governed themselves. This psychological intrusion into their privacy may be resented but it can hardly be thought unreasonable. We westerners might suppose they are being incarcerated in Abu Graibh or Guantanamo by the author’s casual use of the words concentration camp. That’s misleading. The suggestion of sexual abuse, forced surgery and drug use incites hatred with unevidenced allegations. These allegations are sourced from escapees so the author knows who has said it – let’s see them and hear them please.

    Reply
  19. Keith McClary

    How does this compare with the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII? That was perfectly constitutional and could happen again.

    Reply
    1. RJ

      I’m not a lawyer, but I think that treatment required a very creative interpretation of the constitution, especially applied to US citizens.

      How does it compare? Well, the treatment of the Japanese was bad, but there are few stories of torture and rape. Also the Japanese were not locked in cells. It’s far worse.

      Reply

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