‘Most’ inmates in Xinjiang camps are out: China

Vastavam web: Chinese officials on Tuesday said “most” individuals held in re-education camps in its northwest Xinjiang region have left the centres and found jobs – though they did not provide any figures. In Xinjiang, experts and human rights groups say more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are held in a network of camps where they endure political indoctrination.

But Alken Tuniaz, vice chairman of Xinjiang, told reporters at a press briefing that “most personnel who have received educational training have already returned to society and have returned home.” “Right now, most have already completed their studies and obtained employment,” he said. After initially denying their existence, Beijing has gone on a public relations blitz to defend what it calls “vocational education centres” as a necessary measure to counter religious extremism and boost employment.

At a press conference in Beijing, officials from Xinjiang called the centres “effective.” “After these past one to two years of effort, most of the people at the training centres who return to society — you could say more than 90 percent — have found work that they like and find suitable,” Shohrat Zakir, chairman of Xinjiang, told.

But former inmates have said following Islamic traditions, such as wearing long beards and face veils, was the reason they were incarcerated in the first place. A Kazakh businessman, who spent nearly two months in a camp, told AFP the facilities only had one goal: to strip detainees of their religious belief.
Inmates were forced to sing patriotic songs every morning and eat pork, a violation of Islam’s religious restrictions, he said. Re-education camp detainees have also reportedly been used as forced labour at Chinese factories.