24 September 2020

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China builds hundreds of new concentration camps in East Turkestan

The number of concentration camps and secret detention centers in East Turkestan, which are linked to China, has increased even more, attracting the reaction of the international community. The Beijing administration claims that Uighur and other Muslim Turkish minorities who remain in the camps in question have been released after undergoing “education” and are better adapted to society.

The latest research, published by Australian Strategic Policy Institute (Aspi), an Australian think tank, reveals that the Beijing Administration continues to build high-security, prison-like facilities.

Researchers at the ASPI-affiliated International Cyber Policy Center used satellite imagery to locate and analyze 380 detention centers in East Turkestan.

The organization notes that since 2017, around 400 concentration camps have been built throughout East Turkestan.

These include camps resembling high-security prisons with relatively low-security facilities.

Recent research from satellite images reveals the existence of dozens of new facilities compared to the previous one.

3 D image of a high-security concentration camp built in the Mekit District of Kashgar, East Turkestan

“Satellite images showed that construction activity was underway at 60 camps, and at least 14 more camps were under construction,” researcher Nathan Ruser said in a statement.” said.

“The evidence in the database shows that significant investment in the construction of new detention facilities continues in 2019 and 2020, despite claims by Chinese authorities that detainees have graduated from concentration camps,” Ruser said. Evidence from satellite images shows construction at least 60 camps and construction of at least 14 new facilities., “he said.

Concentration camps are being built near factories

ASPI researchers said that these structures, built outside the cities, were bright during the night.

Many of the facilities are close to industrial areas, according to the report. This also proves reports that prisoners in concentration camps were forced to work.

The latest published report states::

“Concentration camps are usually located in the same place as factory complexes. This shows the intricate relationship between arbitrary detentions and forced labour in East Turkestan.”

People belonging to Uighur and other Muslim minorities working in a garment factory in Hoten, East Turkestan

The Chinese administration, which had long denied the existence of concentration camps, had later claimed that these facilities operated as ‘retraining’ and ‘vocational training’ centres. The Chinese Communist Party leadership suggests that potential terrorists in these camps are being reformed and turned into productive members of society.

But those who managed to get out of the camps, family members of the victims and secret witness statements say that arbitrary detentions, political assimilation, human rights violations, rapes and forced labor have occurred in these camps.

Concentration camps in various categories

Satellite image of the concentration camp built in 2020 near Kashgar, East Turkestan

Dividing the facilities into categories, ASPI notes that prison-style third-and fourth-tier facilities have undergone significant new construction and expansion, parallel to the closure of some low-security camps.

Facilities with little security are defined as level one.

It is stated that the settlements previously used as school buildings were converted into camps with a simple arrangement, while foreign journalists and foreign delegations accompanied by CCP guides were allowed to visit these facilities.

Satellite images show that some of the camps on the first and second levels have closed.

Experts note that the 3rd and 4th level camps, with their high concrete walls, wide barbed wire and watchtowers, are literally designed for the detention of the people of the region, while the structures in question are mainly built in cell blocks.

ASPI’s research revealed that most of the 14 facilities still under construction in East Turkestan in 2020 are prisons, and half of the 61 facilities that have recently been under construction are high-security concentration camps.

According to international independent organizations, the Chinese government forcibly detains about 3 million people in these concentration camps in East Turkestan.