(TibetanReview.net, May28’22) – A huge cache of data hacked from police servers in Xinjiang and shared with several news outlets is reported to expose China’s lie that the labour and internment camps it had set up for holding reportedly around a million mostly ethnic Uyghur Muslims were “reforming and retraining” facilities for locals for a more meaningful economic role.
China has claimed that the Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities were voluntarily attending those so-called vocational training schools while vehemently denying allegations that torture and beating, slave labour, indoctrination, and genocidal policies were being carried out in those facilities.
The documents, dubbed the Xinjiang Police Files, were leaked by an anonymous source to academic Adrian Zenz who works for the US-based non-profit organisation the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. It was Zenz who first exposed the Chinese labour camp system in Xinjiang.
The trove of leaked internal documents contains more than 5,000 police photographs of Uyghurs taken between January and July 2018, of which at least 2,800 are of confirmed detainees, the bbc.co.uk reported May 24. They also include classified speeches by senior officials, internal police manuals, internment details for more than 20,000 Uyghurs and photographs from highly sensitive locations, noted the timesofindia.com May 27.
The files, parts of which have been verified by multiple news organisations, also provide a window into life in detention facilities, the report said.
Photos were stated to show officers restraining hooded and shackled inmates with batons as guards wearing camouflage stood by with firearms.
The leaked documents were also stated to reveal interns in detention camps blindfolded, handcuffed and put in shackles while being transferred between facilities or even to hospital.
Photos were stated to provide evidence that minors were also among the detainees in Xinjiang camps – the youngest only 15, and the eldest 73.
A minister was seen to have warned that more than two million people in southern Xinjiang alone had been “severely influenced by the infiltration of extremist religious thought”.
A 2017 internal speech by a former Communist Party secretary in Xinjiang was stated to have ordered guards to shoot to kill anyone who tries to escape, and calls for officials in the region to “exercise firm control over religious believers”.
The leaked photos were also stated to include those of 17-year-old Zeytunigul Ablehet, detained for listening to an illegal speech, and 16-year-old Bilal Qasim, apparently sentenced for being related to other detainees.
Some others had been detained only for practising Islam or visiting a Muslim-majority country.
According to the bbc.co.uk report, the documents reveal several instances of people being punished retrospectively for “crimes” from decades ago – with one man jailed for 10 years in 2017 for having “studied Islamic scripture with his grandmother” for a few days in 2010.
A 2018 internal speech by the public security minister was stated to mention direct orders from President Xi Jinping to increase the capacity of the detention facilities. Another document was stated to point at Xi calling for a more forceful crackdown in the region.
These leaks have emerged as the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet visits China and Xinjiang from May 23-28. The visit remains controversial as she has agreed with China that it will not be for an investigation and no opportunity was provided to her for visiting places and meeting people as she saw fit for the purpose of her mission.