A recent Foreign Policy piece on the reeducation campaign in China's Xinjiang region is another example of nonsensical claims made in the current anti-China propaganda campaign.
Notice the picture caption:
Uighur people pick up their children from school on July 27, 2017, in Kashgar City, Xinjiang, where everyday activities such as wearing a headscarf in the presence of the PRC flag can be cause for detainment.
The picture caption makes no sense. Carl Zha points out that every school in China flies the People's Republic of China flag. It is raised in a weekly ceremony each Monday morning. All the women in the picture above wear headscarfs in the presence of a PRC flag. Will they all be detained for some ideological training? How come they show no fear of being thrown into a "concentration camp"?
The Foreign Policy piece is based on a Human Rights Watch (pdf) report which again is based on interviews with 56 expatriates from the Xinjiang area of China. These people make claims of reasons for which they believe they themselves, or people they claim to know, were put through ideological training sessions. The FP author list all 48 of these reasons, claimed by notoriously unreliable expats, even when many of them do not make any sense.
How can "Trying to kill yourself when in the education camps" be a reason to be send into an education camp? "Owning welding equipment" is likewise certainly not something, on its own, that will put anyone into ideological training. China has an active anti-smoking campaign with high penalties for smoking in prohibited space. To then claim that "Abstaining from cigarettes" is a reason for being send into reeducation is obviously nonsense.
Sine the early 1990s a number of terror incidents by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) killed several hundred people in China. ETIM is sanctioned by the UN as an al-Qaeda aligned movement. Three years ago China decided to attack the problem at its roots. It prohibited Salafist-Wahhabi Islamic practice, which was only recently imported into the traditionally Sufi Uyghur-Muslim areas, and it tries to weed out any such ideology. It also fears the potential growth of an ethnic-nationalistic Turkic Uyghur movement, sponsored by Turkey, that could evolve into a separatist campaign.
People who are susceptible to such ideologies will be put through an reeducation training which includes language lessons in Mandarin and general preparation for the job market. This may not be the way 'western' countries mishandle a radicalization problem, but it is likely more efficient. There surly are aspects of the program that can be criticized. But to claim that these trainings happen in "concentration camps" and for nonsensical reasons is sheer propaganda.
For more on the issue you can listen to Carl Zha's recent Clash of Civilization podcast: Trouble on the Silk Road: The Real Situation of Uyghurs in China.
Posted by b on September 13, 2018