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Leaked Xinjiang Police Files Provide Further Evidence of China’s Concentration Camps

Leaked Xinjiang Police Files Provide Further Evidence of China’s Concentration Camps

Leaked Xinjiang Police Files Provide Further Evidence of China’s Concentration Camps

A detainee is hooded and shackled as he is escorted by three guards. This is believed to be a photo of a drill for handling escape attempts. Photo credit: Xinjiang Police Files
A detainee is hooded and shackled as he is escorted by three guards. This is believed to be a photo of a drill for handling escape attempts. Photo credit: Xinjiang Police Files
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A bombshell collection of internal files, speeches, training documents and photos from Xinjiang’s “vocational camps” were leaked last week, offering further confirmation that China and the CCP are detaining Uyghurs in concentration camps.

The Xinjiang Police Files were acquired by an anonymous hacker who downloaded them from Public Safety Bureau computers in Xinjiang, China. Of his own accord, the hacker gave the files to Dr. Adrian Zenz of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation who, with the help of a research team and 13 media outlets, analyzed, verified and peer-reviewed the documents — even going so far as to call members of the police listed in the files to verify their identities. The Xinjiang Police Files include thousands of photos, detainee records, police training PowerPoints and directions and speeches from top CCP officials, all mostly from 2018.

An estimated 1 million Uyghurs have been detained since 2017, according to the State Department. The Xinjiang Police Files puts faces to a small fraction of that estimate with its cache of over 2,000 haunting photos of Uyghur detainees. Some seem to have tears in their eyes as the camera snapped their picture, recording their presence in the internment camp. The youngest confirmed detainee in the police files is a 15-year old girl named Rahile Omer. The oldest is a 73-year old woman named Anihan Hamit.

According to the files, these 2,000+ mugshots were taken in the first half of 2018 in just one county of Xinjiang. From spreadsheets in the Xinjiang police files, Zenz and his team found that at least 12% of the adult Uyghur population in that single county was interned in camps or prisons. Xinjiang has 61 counties.

Four mugshots of interned detainees. Photo credit: Xinjiang Police Files
Four mugshots of interned detainees. Photo credit: Xinjiang Police Files

Some of the crimes for which they were arrested includes religious activities, picking quarrels, disrupting the social order, having their family members detained, turning off their phones or using a VPN — a sign that one is trying to evade digital surveillance.

China claims the camps are meant to educate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities of their own free will in the Chinese language and Communist Party values, to prevent terrorism and religious extremism and to give occupants vocational training. The CCP has over and again claimed that these “vocational camps” are voluntary. However, internal documents reveal their true, prison-like nature. 

Police guidelines refer to the detainees as “students” and several times directed guards to “shoot to kill” in the event of escape attempts. Watchtowers surrounding the compounds are manned by two officers each, outfitted with snipers and machine guns, the files say. Armed guards are depicted in numerous photos of the camps’ interiors, even in snapshots of detainees.

A detainee sits for his mugshot, closely watched by a guard who is brandishing a baton. Photo Credit: Xinjiang Police Files
A detainee sits for his mugshot, closely watched by a guard who is brandishing a baton. Photo Credit: Xinjiang Police Files

Much of what is included in the Xinjiang Police Files is consistent with survivor testimonies and previous evidence and reports. For instance, internal documents instruct police to transfer “students” from one site to another in blindfolds and shackles, which is consistent with a drone video released in 2018.

A Christian survivor of Xinjiang’s camps, Ovalbek Turdakun, confirmed the high security and heavy presence of guards in the camps while telling his story at a Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation event.

“When we went to the classes to get some educational training, usually there were multiple guards that would guard us during the classes,” Ovalbek described through a translator. “When I need to go outside, the guards would lead me. And I need to go through 12 iron doors. Each door had two guards and cameras were everywhere.”

Speeches from high ranking CCP officials echo shoot to kill commands in shockingly blunt language while lauding these “vocational camps” as “humane” and bringing stability to Xinjiang. 

Secretary Chen Quanguo, the former Xinjiang Party Secretary, stated during a 2017 speech, “You see, in such a situation, if they run, just kill them. There will be no problem, because we have already authorized this a long time ago.”

In the same speech, Chen recommended that the Kashgar province in Xinjiang needed to be harsher and treat foreigners with suspicion: “Especially for those who come back from abroad, we must ‘find one, catch one.’ We must treat them as serious criminals, and first handcuff them and then put hoods over their heads.”

Two detainees are shackled and hooded, crouching on the ground. They are surrounded by eight guards brandishing riot shields and wooden clubs. This photo is thought to be of a drill to train guards in how to handle escape attempts. Photo credit: Xinjiang Police Files
Two detainees are shackled and hooded, crouching on the ground. They are surrounded by eight guards brandishing riot shields and wooden clubs. This photo is thought to be of a drill to train guards in how to handle escape attempts. Photo credit: Xinjiang Police Files

After only three minutes in court, Ovalbek was accused by officials inside the camp of not having sufficient love for his country because he was “married to a foreign woman” — she was from Kyrgyzstan, which is why he had been detained and needed reeducation.

China’s leader, Xi Jinping is attributed in a speech by Zhao Kezhi, China’s Minister of Public Security, with instructing more camps to be built as soon as possible. China is known to be employing measures in other countries — Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan — to return Uyghurs to China. Many Uyghurs have reportedly disappeared after returning.

During his time in a re-education camp, Ovalbek recalled hearing propaganda boasting that China “could send anyone in the world here.” 

China has denied all allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang. China’s foreign ministry responded to the Xinjiang Police Files, telling the BBC that the files were “the latest example of anti-China voices trying to smear China” and that Xinjiang is stable and prosperous with its residents living happy and fulfilling lives.

The file leak came at the same time as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet arrived in China. Since the files were released human rights organizations and government officials have called for further investigation.

 

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Image: A detainee is hooded and shackled as he is escorted by three guards. This is believed to be a photo of a drill for handling escape attempts. Photo credit: Xinjiang Police Files

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