UCF Global Perspectives


China’s Xinjiang Detention Camps May Face UN Investigation

Hannah Klonowski, China-Taiwan Cross Strait Fellow

February 8, 2019

Several human rights groups recently asked that the UN pass a resolution which would allow a fact-finding mission in the Chinese province of Xinjiang (Amnesty). This demand came due to China’s crackdown on the Uigher population, a minority of Turkic-speaking ethnically Chinese citizens who practice as Sunni Muslims (Bloomberg). The Uighers make up about 40% of Xinjiang’s population, with nearly 1 million currently detained in camps without due process (Reuters). The detainees are allegedly kept in “political education” camps, where they are subjected to forced political indoctrination, renunciation of their faith, and oftentimes, torture (Amnesty).

The Chinese government’s success in the Uigher crackdown is largely due to the high levels of surveillance and police presence in the Xinjiang province. Over the past several years, the government installed a “widespread network of security cameras, police stations and checkpoints” (Bloomberg). Chinese President Xi Jinping has justified the mass arrests as “counterterrorism” operations, claiming them as a preemptive strike against Islamic extremism (Bloomberg). Xi asserts that the camps are for “vocational training” and denies allegations of mistreatment of Uighers (Bloomberg).





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