Inside China’s detention centres: War on terror or cultural genocide?
  • Mon, 08/05/2019 - 19:38

Peter Goff  
Aug 3, 2019

On a sizzling-hot late-July afternoon in China’s barren northwest Xinjiang province, rote-learnt chants flow out of a dozen classroom windows as hundreds of Muslim students loudly repeat sentence after sentence after sentence. They are mostly studying Chinese – a language many of them have little grasp of – and taking classes in China’s national laws and regulations. Other groups are following courses in sewing, electronics, hairdressing and the local folk songs and dance.

The Shule County Vocational Training Centre, outside the city of Kashgar, is one of many recently established centres where an estimated 1.5 million Uighurs, Kazakhs, Krygyz and other Muslim minorities have been placed over the past few years.

China says the centres are vital weapons in its “war on terror” where religious extremism can be wiped out while people simultaneously learn valuable skills. UN experts and western academics say there is evidence to show they are extrajudicial internment camps and part of an elaborate social re-engineering scheme aimed at diluting Muslim religious, cultural, linguistic and familial traditions, and assimilating the population into a Han Chinese way of life.