China’s Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang’s Muslims
September 11, 2018 8:23 PM   Subscribe

I've been following this for a while, and it's horrifying.

- Ursula Gauthier was effectively expelled from China for originally reporting on what's happening there. She was way way ahead of the curve.
- Radio Free Asia had some of the earliest reporting on this earlier this year, and their reporters were severely affected
- ‘Thoroughly reforming them towards a healthy heart attitude’: China’s political re-education campaign in Xinjiang has a really good summary of the history and how this developed
- Securitisation and Mass Detentions in Xinjiang also has some good resources and further reading

It's insane to me that not more people are paying attention to this. It's about as bad as it gets.
posted by gemmy at 9:18 PM on September 11, 2018 [16 favorites]

I came here to link to the "Thoroughly Reforming Them Towards a Healthy Heart" paper from gemmy's links above - it's a really impressive piece of research on one of the greatest ongoing human rights abuses happening right now outside of a warzone.

It's shocking that more countries haven't spoken up about this (I always see this framed as "Muslim-majority countries should take China to task for this"... but frankly it's something that any country should be able to see is utterly, deeply wrong.) Still, China is the rising world power, and people are afraid to antagonise the country. Especially as Xinjiang has become strategically important to Xi's pet "One Belt One Road" initiative.

At least the camps have started to attract a little more attention in the international press: this excellent article by Chris Buckley made the front page of the NYT a few days ago. (And here's an accompanying twitter thread by Austin Ramzy, who contributed to the story.)
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:35 PM on September 11, 2018 [7 favorites]

Although the Chinese government provides no public information on the number of detainees in these camps, credible estimates place the number in these camps at around one million.

To calibrate your sense of justice: think of every unjust, prolonged detention you've ever read about in the USA, and compare it to the scale of events in china, now.

e.g. think about the issue with undocumented immigrants, and the rightful outrage that has had hundreds of posts on this and other websites........

. It's likely that this detainment is 10-20x BIGGER than the entire US immigration detention appararatus.
posted by lalochezia at 9:59 PM on September 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

[One deleted. It's fine to introduce questions or doubts about HRW possible bias, but let's keep it directly informational in regard to the actual topic: treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, which is the crux of the post. It's not a problem to address any misinformation on the alleged Muslim re-education camps, but this isn't the spot for a random multiparagraph screed against HRW generally.]
posted by taz (staff) at 1:29 AM on September 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

Thank you for sharing this.
posted by smoke at 2:56 AM on September 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have so much trouble reading posts about this and I'm ashamed to say I didn't even know it was something that was happening until a few months ago.

I worry so much for the Uyghur and Tajik folks I met over there roundabout 2012 or so. I have no idea what their names are. At first I thought, they're so far out in the middle of nowhere, maybe that would make things safer for them. But then I realized that they're just barely within the Chinese border with Tajikistan, India/Pakistan (contested borders), and a very small sliver of Afghanistan, and still even close by some standards to Kyrgyzstan, all which are on the "Sensitive Countries" list.

They were so nice and they always just gave us stuff. They're the kind of people who insist on giving you stuff. Tea, goat cheese, yogurt, milk. They let us rent their tractor to help us get up high valleys, drove us, sold us goats at good prices.

Maybe they're fine, who knows. But that feels more optimistic than I'm capable of right now.

Just fuck this.
posted by nogoodverybad at 9:50 AM on September 12, 2018 [6 favorites]

48 Ways to Get Sent to a Chinese Concentration Camp
  • Owning a tent
  • Telling others not to swear
  • Speaking with someone who has traveled abroad
  • Owning welding equipment
  • Telling others not to sin
  • Having traveled abroad yourself
  • Owning extra food
  • Eating breakfast before the sun comes up
  • Merely knowing someone who has traveled abroad
  • Owning a compass
  • Arguing with an official
  • Publicly stating that China is inferior to some other country
  • Owning multiple knives
  • Sending a petition that complains about local officials
  • Having too many children
  • Abstaining from alcohol
  • Not allowing officials to sleep in your bed, eat your food, and live in your house
  • Having a VPN
  • Abstaining from cigarettes
  • Not having your government ID on your person
  • Having WhatsApp
  • Wailing, publicly grieving, or otherwise acting sad when your parents die
  • Not letting officials take your DNA
  • Watching a video filmed abroad
  • Wearing a scarf in the presence of the Chinese flag
  • Wearing a hijab (if you are under 45)
  • Going to a mosque
  • Praying
  • Fasting
  • Listening to a religious lecture
  • Not letting officials scan your irises
  • Not letting officials download everything you have on your phone
  • Not making voice recordings to give to officials
  • Speaking your native language in school
  • Speaking your native language in government work groups
  • Speaking with someone abroad (via Skype, WeChat, etc.)
  • Wearing a shirt with Arabic lettered writing on it
  • Having a full beard
  • Wearing any clothes with religious iconography
  • Not attending mandatory propaganda classes
  • Not attending mandatory flag-raising ceremonies
  • Not attending public struggle sessions
  • Refusing to denounce your family members or yourself in these public struggle sessions
  • Trying to kill yourself when detained by the police
  • Trying to kill yourself when in the education camps
  • Performing a traditional funeral
  • Inviting multiple families to your house without registering with the police department
  • Being related to anyone who has done any of the above
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:38 AM on September 13, 2018 [4 favorites]

This Bloomberg piece criticizes China's policies in Xinjiang from a primarily economic perspective. It includes links to several informative news articles from the last few months on what's been going on there:

The Hole at the Heart of China’s Silk Road: A seething and repressed Xinjiang can’t become a hub for trade.
posted by homunculus at 5:58 PM on September 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is discussed in the book Prisoners of Geography.
posted by quillbreaker at 1:37 PM on September 14, 2018

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