China is Holding One Million Uighurs in Concentration Camps
There has been some wonderful reporting recently on the plight of the Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority located in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, in Central Asia. While the Uighurs are an ethnic minority in China they make up the majority within Xinjiang so Chinese officials have always feared that they would seek an independent homeland. And if you add in a good bit of Islamophobia you start to understand how this campaign of repression and cultural genocide began.
Chris Hayes, NBC: "The biggest headline is that there are a million people in concentration camps in China right now. There's a total population of 12 million Uighurs, and the ones that aren't in concentration camps are under a sort of dystopian form of 21st-century constant digital surveillance. That means that every single action is tracked. Their faces are being scanned as they move through the streets and fed back into central computers. Their phones are spying on them. They're required to have their phones with them. They can be grabbed in the middle of the night at any time. People have had loved ones disappear, never to be heard from again."
China characterizes the camps as “vocational education and employment training centers” for “criminals involved in minor offenses.” However, they don't allow human rights organizations, the media or the UN to monitor activity within the camps and there are many first-person reports of violent indoctrination including beatings and torture. Chris Hayes, who did a recent investigative piece for NBC explained it as "trying to essentially strip away their Uighur-ness through totalitarian indoctrination so that you get rid of the identity, the ethnicity, the language, and the religion and the culture, and you make it all disappear."
In addition to Chris Hayes's piece, the New York Times and Human Rights Watch have also done some wonderful reporting on the situation in Xinjiang. And Vox recently posted this video to explain the situation and provide some history.