Skip to main content

China explicitly acknowledges, tries to justify concentration camps in Xinjiang

Supchina.com

The South China Morning Post reports that Xinjiang “has revised its legislation to allow local governments to ‘educate and transform’ people influenced by extremism at ‘vocational training centres,’” where a significant proportion of the Uyghur and Kazakh populations is being interned.

“Governments at the county level and above can set up education and transformation organisations and supervising departments such as vocational training centres, to educate and transform people who have been influenced by extremism” is the new language in the “Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Regulation on Anti-Extremism.”The amendments took effect yesterday. The earlier version of was passed in March 2017. It banned “a wide range of acts deemed manifestations of extremism, including wearing veils or having ‘abnormal” beards, refusing to watch television or listen to radio, and preventing children from receiving national education.” You can read the amended law here (in Chinese).The amendments mark a new phaseof official explanations: Beijing is no longer denying the existence of the camps but explicitly attempting to justify them for counter-terrorism purposes and emphasizing “vocational training” and even “psychological counseling.” The Global Times made it clear:

The institutions will offer instruction on Putonghua, laws, regulations and vocational skills training. They will also provide counter-terrorism training, and psychological counseling to people affected by extremist thoughts to help them return to society and their family.

Administrative departments have been established that will be responsible for organizing and coordinating the institutions to promote the legalization and standardization of the "education transformation system," said the regulation.

Zhu said that while other countries have criticized Xinjiang's anti-extremism measures, extremist activities and radical movements are on the rise in their own countries.


“China legalizes Xinjiang 're-education camps' after denying they exist” is how CNN headlined their story on the amendments, and the BBC ran with “Xinjiang legalises 'reeducation' camps.” But human rights activist Maya Wang tweeted: "The original rules already made provisions to 'educate' people concerning extremism, so the correct analysis of these revisions would be that they've made further clarifications about these facilities. The characterization that these camps have thus been ‘legalized’ is misleading.”The propaganda effort is intensifying:“A campaign for liberating thought is unfolding across the vast land of Xinjiang… This extraordinary vituperative essay on Chinese websites defends policies in Xinjiang as ‘a great tide of emancipation of thinking,’” New York Times reporter Chris Buckley tweeted. The article was first published published yesterday by Tianshan, a state-owned website based in Xinjiang. Sina and dozens of other popular Chinese news sites have republished the piece.Editor of nationalistic rag Global Times Hú Xījìn 胡锡进 tweeted, in response to the South China Morning Post article on the camps: “It was in line with the spirit of law to begin with and fits the reality of Xinjiang. The tumultuous situation there has been brought under control, many lives being saved and peace/stability recovered. This is the greatest of all human rights.”

The Party has admitted that the camps exist and produced legal sophistry to explain them away: This is not going to end soon. Which makes me question if the time has come to call these camps what they are: concentration camps.

This is how the American Heritage Dictionary defines “concentration camp”:

1. A camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group the government has identified as dangerous or undesirable.

2. A place or situation in which extremely harsh conditions are imposed by those in authority.


The Oxford English Dictionary has a similar definition. Both accurately describe what is going in right now in Xinjiang.

Some scholars and many journalists are reluctant to use the phrase “concentration camp” because of the strong association with Nazi death camps. But the phrase was first popularized in English by the British in my native land of South Africa: The colonial government put Afrikaners in camps during the second Boer War of 1900–02. Their justification was very similar to the Chinese Communist Party’s war-on-terror rhetoric about the mass imprisonment of Uyghurs and Kazakhs.

It’s also worth noting that the word for “concentrated” or “to concentrate,” 集中 jízhōng, features on the signposts of some of the camps, such as the one pictured in a front-page New York Times article last month.

Other links

“The experiences of a Han student studying in Xinjiang: omnipresent security, ethnic discrimination and disappearing teachers” is Reuters reporter Christian Shepherd’s Twitter summary of this Chinese language article on Initium.China's Urumqi takes aim at 'extremist' religious practices / Al JazeeraCongressional-Executive Commission on China: Annual Report 2018Opinion: China grows more repressive/ WSJ (paywall)US lawmakers call on Trump to help detained Chinese Muslims / Washington PostChina increasing domestic repression and exporting authoritarianism–US Report / RFA

—Jeremy Goldkorn

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Balochistan to establish first medical university

https://www.dawn.com/news/1366135

The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentOctober 25, 2017QUETTA: The provincial cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft for establishing a medical university in Balochistan.Health minister Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch made the announcement while speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.“The cabinet has approved the draft of the medical university which would be presented in the current session of the Balochistan Assembly,” he said, adding with the assembly’s approval the Bolan Medical College would be converted into a medical university.Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میںPlease help the deserving persons...Salary:Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows;Welder: Rs. 1,700 dailyHeavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyMason: Rs. 1,500 dailyHelper: Rs. 850 dailyElectrician: Rs. 1,700 dailySurveyor: Rs. 2,500 dailySecurity Guard: Rs. 1,600 dailyBulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyConcrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 dailyRoller operator: Rs. 2,000 dailySteel fixer: Rs. 2,200 dailyIron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 dailyAccount clerk: Rs. 2,200 dailyCarpenter: Rs. 1,700 dailyLight duty driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyLabour: Rs. 900 dailyPara Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 dailyPipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 dailyStorekeeper: Rs. 1,700 dailyOffice boy: Rs. 1,200 dailyExcavator operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyShovel operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyComputer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailySecurity Supervisor: Rs. 2,200 dailyCook for Chinese food: Rs. 2,000 dailyCook…

China’s 'Digital Silk Road': Pitfalls Among High Hopes

https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/chinas-digital-silk-road-pitfalls-among-high-hopes/


Will information and communication technologies help China realize its Digital Silk Road?By Wenyuan WuNovember 03, 2017In his speech at the opening ceremony of China’s 19th Party Congress, President Xi Jinping depicted China as a model of scientific and harmonious development for developing nations. Xi’s China wants to engage the world through commerce but also through environmental protection and technological advancement. This includes Beijing’s efforts to fight climate change with information and communication technologies (ICTs) that it plans to export along its “One Belt One Road” initiative (OBOR). Xi may have ambitious plans, but could China be throwing up obstacles in its own way?In his speech, the Chinese president emphasized the need to modernize the country’s environmental protections. The Chinese state is taking an “ecological civilization” approach to development and diplomacy, with a natio…