china wall

More than one million Muslims, mainly of Uighur ethnicity, are being held in political re-education camps in Xinjiang.


Documents revealed on Sunday 24 November by a consortium of journalists show the Chinese regime’s absolute control over its huge detention camps in the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang, where more than one million people are interned.

These documents, obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and published by 17 media outlets around the world, detail the draconian regulations, from the frequency of haircuts to door-locking times, governing these camps in China’s northwest region.

According to human rights organizations, more than one million Muslims, mainly of Uighur ethnicity, are being held in political re-education camps in Xinjiang. Beijing rejects this figure and refers to “vocational training centres” designed to combat Islamist radicalisation.

This information was published a week after the American daily newspaper “New York Times” announced that it had managed to obtain more than 400 pages of documents internal to the Chinese government, including secret speeches by President Xi Jinping calling for a “merciless” fight against terrorism and separatism in Xinjiang by 2014.


“Ideological transformation”, “video monitoring”, “discipline”

The latest revelations concern a series of detention camp management guidelines, approved in 2017 by the head of the security forces in Xinjiang, as well as intelligence reports showing how the police use artificial intelligence and data collection to target people for internment.

The guidelines refer to prisoners as “students” who must “graduate”.

They describe with great precision how guards must manage the daily lives of detainees, from preventing contact with the outside world to dealing with illness, according to an English translation of documents published by ICIJ. In particular, the guidelines establish a point system to assess the “ideological transformation” of prisoners, their “respect for discipline” and their eagerness to “study”.


“Doors to dormitories, hallways and floors must be closed twice immediately after being opened and closed,” the authors detail.

“Full video surveillance must be established in dormitories and classrooms, without blind spots, so that guards can monitor in real time, record things in detail and immediately report any suspicious events. ยป

The guidelines provide that “students” must remain in detention for at least one year, although this rule is not always applied, according to testimonies of former prisoners collected by ICIJ.

In London, the Chinese Embassy denied the authenticity of the published documents, calling them “pure falsification” and “false information”.

“There are no documents or orders for so-called “detention camps”. Professional training and education centres have been established to prevent terrorism,” she said in a statement to the daily newspaper “The Guardian”, which is part of the media that published the documents.