Chinese Cruel Concentration Camps


Anabelle Taylor, Journalist

Xinjiang Internment camps in Northwest China are facilities that hold China’s Muslim ethnic groups such as: Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Kazakhstanis. These camps were started under China Communist party General Secretary Xi Jinping and are referred to as re-education camps within the Chinese state. These camps have been accused of human rights violations including: mistreatment, rape, torture, and alleged genocide. Foreign journalists have been all but banned from these sites and the government refuses to disclose the exact number of camps or prisoners, although, it’s estimated to be 1.5 million inmates. Government official Shohrat Zakir even went so far as to say that the prisoners were there voluntarily and could leave once they “graduate.” According to Elise Anderson, senior program officer of Uyghurs Human Rights Project, “Uyghurs in Xinjiang are sentenced for 10-15 years for separatism, or the practice of one group disassociating from a larger group due to ethnicity or religion”. Another expert, Sean R Roberts (Author of The War on Uyghurs: China’s Campaign Against Xinjiang’s Muslims) reported, “even though the internment camps are obviously the most headline-grabbing aspect of what’s happening, there’s been a much broader effort from the beginning that has also included significant incarceration” in prisons.

The Xinjiang internment camps were discussed by the UN last Year. One participant, an ethnic Uyghur and member of Justice For All, asked Beijing ambassador Zhang Ju how these actions could be justified and mentioned that she had some missing relatives that may be imprisoned. At the meeting, UN high commissioner for Human Rights asked Ju to have unfettered access to Xinjiang and he responded by saying that the camps were essential to fight terrorism in China and the human rights abuses were lies and rumors. But, if these camps had nothing to hide, why didn’t they grant access for visitors? Anonymous CdM student reflected on the issue saying, “What does it say about us? When we allow these things to happen?” Another student, Sophomore Marissa Palladino, said “That’s really tragic that these people are being separated from their families, and people should be able to be who they want to be.” The consensus among world leaders and CdM students was that the 1.5 million Chinese ethnic groups should be treated fairly without any infringements on their human rights.