China legalizes Xinjiang 're-education camps' after denying they exist

Authorities in China's far-western Xinjiang region appear to have officially legalized so-called re-educatio...

Posted: Oct 11, 2018 12:07 PM
Updated: Oct 11, 2018 12:07 PM

Authorities in China's far-western Xinjiang region appear to have officially legalized so-called re-education camps for people accused of religious extremism, a little more than a month after denying such centers exist.

The Xinjiang government on Tuesday revised a local law to encourage "vocational skill education training centers" to "carry out anti-extremist ideological education."

Asia

China

Continents and regions

East Asia

Internment camps

Minority and ethnic groups

Society

Unrest, conflicts and war

Uyghurs

Xinjiang

Belief, religion and spirituality

Demographic groups

Muslim people

Population and demographics

Human rights organizations have long alleged the Chinese government has been detaining hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs -- a Turkic-speaking, largely Muslim minority native to Xinjiang -- in such centers as part of an effort to enforce patriotism and loyalty to Beijing in the region.

In an August 29 report, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed alarm at reports of Uyghurs and other Muslims being held for long periods of time without charge or trial "under the pretext of countering terrorism and religious extremism."

US Vice President Mike Pence made a similar accusation in a speech last week at the Hudson Institute.

"Survivors of the camps have described their experiences as a deliberate attempt by Beijing to strangle Uyghur culture and stamp out the Muslim faith," Pence said.

The Chinese government has forcefully maintained the reports aren't true and there is "no arbitrary detention or lack of freedom of religion or belief."

"Xinjiang citizens including the Uyghurs enjoy equal freedoms and rights," Hu Lianhe, a spokesman for China's United Front Work Department, told the UN panel.

In the revised Xinjiang law, Article 33 stipulates that "institutions such as vocational skill education training centers should carry out trainings on the common national language, laws and regulations, and vocational skills, and carry out anti-extremist ideological education, and psychological and behavioral correction to promote thought transformation of trainees, and help them return to the society and family."

The updated law all but acknowledges the growing reports of mass detentions inside Xinjiang, where former detainees say they were forced to yell patriotic slogans, sing revolutionary songs and study Chinese President Xi Jinping's teachings.

Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said Xinjiang's regional government did not have the authority under China's constitution to legalize the detentions.

"Without due process, Xinjiang's political education centers remain arbitrary and abusive, and no tweaks in national or regional rules can change that," Wang said.

In the past year, Beijing has radically attempted to tighten its hold over the remote region following a spate of violent attacks that the government blamed on Uyghur Muslim separatists trying to establish an independent state.

In a submission to the United Nations, the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress estimated at least 1 million Uyghurs were being held in political indoctrination camps as of July.

"Detentions are extra-legal, with no legal representation allowed throughout the process of arrest and incarceration," the submission said.

Tuesday's announcement came a day after local leaders in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, announced the beginning of an anti-halal campaign.

Under the new rules, all officials and police in the region must make a declaration that they are "loyal Communist Party members" and "don't have any religious belief." Their only faith is allowed to be "Marxism and Leninism," and they must agree to "fight against 'pan-halalization' thoroughly," the new oath said.

It isn't the first time China has cracked down on elements of the Muslim faith in Xinjiang. In 2017, authorities first banned a wide range of activities, including wearing face coverings and having a long beard.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
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Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
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Smith162534
Walthall134245
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Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
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Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 540083

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798481529
Mobile41283809
Madison35157506
Tuscaloosa25925455
Shelby25302249
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Baldwin21411310
Lee15993172
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Walker7261278
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Blount6773139
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Dale4877113
Russell445738
Chilton4373113
Franklin426382
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Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394877
Chambers3596123
Dallas3569153
Clarke351561
Marion3140101
Pike312077
Lawrence303098
Winston275873
Bibb264764
Geneva254178
Marengo249865
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale224078
Butler219169
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Henry189943
Cherokee184845
Randolph182542
Monroe178141
Washington167839
Macon161350
Clay157257
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143336
Lowndes140653
Wilcox127430
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