The China cables Uighurs ‘Allow no escapes’: leak exposes reality of China’s vast prison camp network

Documents confirm largest mass incarceration of an ethnic-religious minority since second world war

Uighur’s 10-year term reveals level of repression
Secret memo on how to run camps

Emma Graham-Harrison and Juliette Garside
Sun 24 Nov 2019

The internal workings of a vast chain of Chinese internment camps used to detain at least a million people from the nation’s Muslim minorities are laid out in leaked Communist Party documents published on Sunday.

The China Cables, a cache of classified government papers, appear to provide the first official glimpse into the structure, daily life and ideological framework behind centres in north-western Xinjiang region that have provoked international condemnation.

Obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and shared with the Guardian, the BBC and 15 other media partners, the documents have been independently assessed by experts who have concluded they are authentic. China said they had been “fabricated”.

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However, the documents are consistent with mounting evidence that the country runs detention camps that are secret, involuntary and used for ideological “education transformation”.

When reports surfaced of mass internments without trial, authorities in Beijing initially denied the existence of the detention centres, whose inmates are mostly Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.

After satellite photos and a flood of testimony from former detainees and relatives became impossible to ignore, the party insisted they were for voluntary “vocational training”.

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