The Chinese Labor Camps

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By — Sally Bermudez

Xinjiang China, home to many detention camps for re-education and training, has recently been exposed. For a long time it was thought that people would voluntarily go to these camps because Chinese officials claimed it was optional, but according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, inmates are being locked up and punished. 

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Liu Xiaoming, a Chinese diplomat who’s been serving as an Ambassador in the UK since 2010, has openly said that these allegations are fake news while being interviewed by BBC Panorama UK during a press conference. He supported this saying “there’s no such thing as labor camps… there’s um, what we call vocational training centers.” Most of the people being taken into these labor camps are part of the Chinese Muslim Uyghur population, one of the largest Muslim populations in eastern Asia. The Chinese Muslim Uygur are recognnized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. “They are there for the prevention of terrorists,” said Xiaoming talking about the purpose of the camps.

In order to crack down on the Muslim Uyghur population, numerous Chinese authorities have been targeting them through the Zapya app. Zapya is a file sharing app developed by the Beijing startup base that’s only available on Android phones. It creates Wi-Fi hotspots so that people in countries with poor internet connection can share files without using internet. According to DewMobile, more than 450 million people have the Zapya app since it’s launch in 2012. As well as sharing files, Zapya encourages its users to download the Quran and share its teachings with others making it easier to track religious minorities down. 

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The China Cables, the manual that holds the guidelines on how to run the labor camps, were approved by the region’s top chief of security. The manual goes into detail about how there’s a minimum of one year in the detention camp, how to prevent the escape of  detainees, how to prevent trouble by giving detainees specific times when they can see their loved ones, do any basic needs like eating, taking a shower, and using the toilet, prevent people from inside the camps joining forces, full video surveillance from everywhere inside the camp, and no phones allowed for the inmates. The camps also focus on re-educating their inmates by teaching them the laws, religion, and ideology of China as well as the language of Mandarin. Along with everything else, the camps also have a points management system which is the way that camp officials and security officers reward or punish their inmates. Although this is a brief overview of the China Cables, the leaked translated version of the document can be found here.