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Full Version: China Secretly Built A Vast New Infrastructure To Imprison Muslims
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Built To Last
A BuzzFeed News investigation based on thousands of satellite images reveals a vast, growing infrastructure for long-term detention and incarceration.

China has secretly built scores of massive new prison and internment camps in the past three years, dramatically escalating its campaign against Muslim minorities even as it publicly claimed the detainees had all been set free. The construction of these purpose-built, high-security camps — some capable of housing tens of thousands of people — signals a radical shift away from the country’s previous makeshift use of public buildings, like schools and retirement homes, to a vast and permanent infrastructure for mass detention.

In the most extensive investigation of China’s internment camp system ever done using publicly available satellite images, coupled with dozens of interviews with former detainees, BuzzFeed News identified more than 260 structures built since 2017 and bearing the hallmarks of fortified detention compounds. There is at least one in nearly every county in the far-west region of Xinjiang. During that time, the investigation shows, China has established a sprawling system to detain and incarcerate hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities, in what is already the largest-scale detention of ethnic and religious minorities since World War II.

These forbidding facilities — including several built or significantly expanded within the last year — are part of the government’s unprecedented campaign of mass detention of more than a million people, which began in late 2016. That year Chen Quanguo, the region’s top official and Communist Party boss, whom the US recently sanctioned over human rights abuses, also put Muslim minorities — more than half the region’s population of about 25 million — under perpetual surveillance via facial recognition cameras, cellphone tracking, checkpoints, and heavy-handed human policing. They are also subject to many other abuses, ranging from sterilization to forced labor.

To detain thousands of people in short order, the government repurposed old schools and other buildings. Then, as the number of detainees swelled, in 2018 the government began building new facilities with far greater security measures and more permanent architectural features, such as heavy concrete walls and guard towers, the BuzzFeed News analysis shows. Prisons often take years to build, but some of these new compounds took less than six months, according to historical satellite data. The government has also added more factories within camp and prison compounds during that time, suggesting the expansion of forced labor within the region. Construction was still ongoing as of this month.

“People are living in horror in these places,” said 49-year-old Zhenishan Berdibek, who was detained in a camp in the Tacheng region for much of 2018. “Some of the younger people were not as tolerant as us — they cried and screamed and shouted.” But Berdibek, a cancer survivor, couldn’t muster the energy. As she watched the younger women get dragged away to solitary confinement, “I lost my hope,” she said. “I wanted to die inside the camp.”

BuzzFeed News identified 268 newly built compounds by cross-referencing blanked-out areas on Baidu Maps — a Google Maps–like tool that’s widely used in China — with images from external satellite data providers. These compounds often contained multiple detention facilities.
This map shows the locations of facilities bearing the hallmarks of prisons and internment camps found in this investigation. Note: Many satellite images in this map are from before 2017, meaning that although you can zoom in, you won’t always be able to see the evidence of possible camps.

Locations identified or corroborated by other sources. Satellite images — perimeter walls and guard towers. Satellite images — walls and barbed wire but no guard towers. Detention Center built before 2017. Likely used for detention in the past but now closed or reduced security.

Ninety-two of these facilities have been identified or verified as detention centers by other sources, such as government procurement documents, academic research, or, in 19 cases, visits by journalists.

Another 176 facilities have been established by satellite imagery alone. The images frequently show thick walls at the perimeter, and often, barbed wire fencing that creates pens and corridors in the courtyards. Many compounds in the region are walled, but the facilities identified by BuzzFeed News have much heavier fortifications. At 121 of these compounds, they also show guard towers, often built into the perimeter wall.

In response to a detailed list of questions about this article as well as a list of GPS coordinates of facilities identified in this article, the Chinese Consulate in New York said “the issue concerning Xinjiang is by no means about human rights, religion or ethnicity, but about combating violent terrorism and separatism,” adding that it was a “groundless lie” that a million Uighurs have been detained in the region.

“Xinjiang has set up vocational education and training centers in order to root out extreme thoughts, enhance the rule of law awareness through education, improve vocational skills and create employment opportunities for them, so that those affected by extreme and violent ideas can return to society as soon as possible,” the consulate added, saying human rights are protected in the centers and that “trainees have freedom of movement.” But it also compared its program to “compulsory programs for terrorist criminals” it said are taking place in other countries including the US and UK.

China's Foreign Ministry and Baidu did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The new facilities are scattered across every populated area of the region, and several are large enough to accommodate 10,000 prisoners at a minimum, based on their size and architectural features. (One of the reporters on this story is a licensed architect.)

Unlike early sites, the new facilities appear more permanent and prisonlike, similar in construction to high-security prisons in other parts of China. The most highly fortified compounds offer little space between buildings, tiny concrete-walled yards, heavy masonry construction, and long networks of corridors with cells down either side. Their layouts are cavernous, allowing little natural light to the interior of the buildings. BuzzFeed News could see how rooms were laid out at some high-security facilities by examining historical satellite photos taken as they were being constructed, including photos of buildings without roofs.

With at least tens of thousands of detainees crowded into government buildings repurposed as camps by the end of 2017, the government began building the largest new facilities in the spring of 2018. Several were complete by October 2018, with further facilities built through 2019 and construction of a handful more continuing even now.

The government has said its camps are schools and vocational training centers where detainees are “deradicalized.” The government’s own internal documentation about its policies in Xinjiang has used the term “concentration,” or 集中, to describe “educational schools.”

The government claims that its campaign combats extremism in the region. But most who end up in these facilities are not extremists of any sort.

Downloading WhatsApp, which is banned in China, maintaining ties with family abroad, engaging in prayer, and visiting a foreign website are all offenses for which Muslims have been sent to camps, according to previously leaked documents and interviews with former detainees. Because the government does not consider internment camps to be part of the criminal justice system and none of these behaviors are crimes under Chinese law, no detainees have been formally arrested or charged with a crime, let alone seen a day in court.

The compounds BuzzFeed News identified likely include extrajudicial internment camps — which hold people who are not suspected of any crime — as well as prisons. Both types of facilities have security features that closely resemble each other. Xinjiang’s prison population has grown massively during the government’s campaign: In 2017, the region had 21% of all arrests in China, despite making up less than 2% of the national population — an eightfold increase from the year before, according to a New York Times analysis of government data. Because China’s Communist Party–controlled courts have a more than 99% conviction rate, the overwhelming majority of those arrests likely resulted in convictions.

“One day I saw a pregnant woman in shackles. Another woman had a baby in her arms, she was breastfeeding.”

People detained in the camps told BuzzFeed News they were subjected to torture, hunger, overcrowding, solitary confinement, forced birth control, and a range of other abuses. They said they were put through brainwashing programs focusing on Communist Party propaganda and made to speak only in the Chinese language. Some former detainees said they were forced to labor without pay in factories.

The government heavily restricts the movements of independent journalists and researchers in the region, and heavily censors the internet and its own domestic media. Muslim minorities can be punished for posts on social media. But satellite images that are collected from independent providers remain outside the scope of Chinese government censorship.

Other kinds of evidence have also occasionally leaked out. In September, a drone video emerged showing hundreds of blindfolded men with their heads shaven and their arms tied behind their backs, wearing vests that say “Kashgar Detention Center.” Nathan Ruser, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute who has done extensive satellite imagery analysis of the detention and prison systems in Xinjiang, said the video shows a prisoner transfer that took place in April 2019 — months after the government first said the system was for vocational training. Previous analyses, including by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in November 2018, identified several dozen early camps.

“The internment and assimilation program in Xinjiang has the overall logic of colonial genocides in North America, the formalized racism of apartheid, the industrial-scale internment of Germany's concentration camps, and the police-state penetration into everyday life of North Korea,” said Rian Thum, a scholar of the history of Islam in China at the University of Nottingham.

The campaign has done deep damage to many Muslim minority groups — but especially Uighurs, who are by far the most populous ethnic minority group in Xinjiang and do not have ties to any other country. The Chinese government has heavily penalized expressions of Turkic minority culture, from Kazakh- and Uighur-language education to the practice of Islam outside of state-controlled mosques. This, combined with forced sterilizations, has led some critics to say that the campaign qualifies as genocide under international law. The Trump administration is reportedly discussing whether to formally call it a genocide, and a spokesperson for Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, said on Tuesday that Biden supports the label.

“These are peaceful people in concentration camps,” said Abduweli Ayup, a Uighur linguist who was jailed and later exiled from Xinjiang after opening kindergartens that taught Uighur children in their own language. “They are businessmen and scholars and engineers. They are our musicians. They are doctors. They are shopkeepers, restaurant owners, teachers who used Uighur textbooks.

“These are the pillars of our society. Without them, we cannot exist.”

Satellite pictures at this link; https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/meg...rs-muslims
If Google, Apple and Nike are OK with it, its OK by me.
[Image: giphy.webp]
I mean, PP hasn't mentioned it, and he lives in China, as he keeps reminding us. How bad could it be? He said the ChiComs don't monitor this forum and he can say whatever he likes, so that is definitely not what is keeping him from commenting on this.
(08-31-2020 02:45 AM)Chaos Reigns Wrote: [ -> ]If Google, Apple and Nike are OK with it, its OK by me.

so long as that share-price increases and there's new flim-flam to buy, who cares about a few human rights infractions......so long as it's not in my backyard no harm no foul....... Dodgy
Human Rights are, always were and will always be total BS.
You guys aren't so naive to think the Chinese are just oppressing the Muslims to be big meanies right?

Empire is a game of high stakes. The ChiComs are assessing and addressing the threat in a way that makes sense for them.
Would be good to get PP's take on this and historical Turkestan.
(08-31-2020 06:17 AM)karasu Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-31-2020 02:45 AM)Chaos Reigns Wrote: [ -> ]If Google, Apple and Nike are OK with it, its OK by me.

so long as that share-price increases and there's new flim-flam to buy, who cares about a few human rights infractions......so long as it's not in my backyard no harm no foul....... Dodgy

[Image: bunk-the-wire.gif]
Trump said he wouldn't really mention them in exchange for China buying Soybeans and Us Agriculture.

I heard it from a guy named John Bolton
If you're a risk / threat to the security of a world superpower and living within their borders, you're gonna get the shit-end-of-the-stick.

Anyone disagree?
(09-01-2020 06:31 AM)kungfool Wrote: [ -> ]If you're a risk / threat to the security of a world superpower and living within their borders, you're gonna get the shit-end-of-the-stick.

Anyone disagree?

The long game for the 'War on Terror' was for the west/NATO + Israel to foment unrest in the Caucasus and Xinjiang, IMO.

Muslim minorities inside two of the world's superpowers. The plan in the short-term seems to have changed. Whether it has changed in the long-term remains to be seen.

Maybe it was meant as a way to keep the Chinese elites on-board with the globalist plan, by creating a threat to their power.
i think the chinese are under reporting, and i think the uighurs are exaggerating.

two issues not being addressed.

1 - muslin terrorist attackS in china the last 5 years

2 - uighurs refusal to adopt/learn the national language (mandarin) as required by national law
How about the Hui Muslims? Are they being oppressed and thrown into camps too? Don't hear much about them.
(09-01-2020 03:58 PM)The Diet Butcher Wrote: [ -> ]How about the Hui Muslims? Are they being oppressed and thrown into camps too? Don't hear much about them.

never heard of them. i know of han and uighur.

a big issue is 30+(?) years ago only 50% of chinese spoke the national language. chinese (mandarin)

china passed a national law that all schools and tv must be in mandarin

the uighur populated areas refused that law
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