In a shocking revelation made by The New York Times, hundreds of pages of leaked internal government documents reveal how China’s mass detention of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang came from directives by Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, to “show absolutely no mercy” in the “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism.”
The situation in Xinjiang as described by the leaked papers almost looks like a scene from an Orwellian novel. The mass detention of Uighur Muslims in the name of “attending school” where they are being taught “mild methods to fight Islamic extremism” has actually been a brainwashing camp where the citizens are being separated from their religion and families.
The New York Times report highlighted some key points from the 400 page document that was leaked to them and pointed out how President Xi Jinping directly laid out the plan to wipe out the culture and history of Uighur Muslims.
According to NYT, “The papers were brought to light by a member of the Chinese political establishment who requested anonymity and expressed hope that their disclosure would prevent party leaders, including Mr. Xi, from escaping culpability for the mass detentions.”
Since 2017, the authorities in Xinjiang have detained many hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims in internment camps from the northwest region of the country. Inmates undergo months or years of indoctrination and interrogation aimed at transforming them into secular and loyal supporters of the party, which is a far-reaching step since Mao Zedong’s cultural revolution of the 1966.
To portray its clean image China has organised trips to these detention centres where media personnel can have a look at what happens inside. In one such trip by the BBC team, the trip looked very practiced and restricted where the Chinese officials even claimed of controlling ‘thought crimes’ just like in George Orwell’s novel 1984.
According to NYT, “The current crackdown began after a surge of anti-government and anti-Chinese violence, including ethnic riots in 2009 in Urumqi, the regional capital, and a May 2014 attack on an outdoor market that killed 39 people just days before Mr. Xi convened a leadership conference in Beijing to set a new policy course for Xinjiang.”
The US State Department has called on China to end its “highly repressive campaign” and has imposed visa restrictions on officials believed to be involved in repression, reports The Washington Post.
According to the leaked documents it was warned that there was a “serious possibility” students whose relatives were detained might sink into “turmoil” after learning what had happened to their relatives. It recommended that police officers in plain clothes and experienced local officials meet them as soon as they returned “to show humane concern and stress the rules.”
The directive’s question-and-answer guide begins gently, with officials advised to tell the students that they have “absolutely no need to worry” about relatives who have disappeared.
“Tuition for their period of study is free and so are food and living costs, and the standards are quite high,” officials were told to say, before adding that the authorities were spending more than $3 per day on meals for each detainee, “even better than the living standards that some students have back home.”
“If you want to see them,” the answer concluded, “we can arrange for you to have a video meeting.”
In a an even shocking statement, China on November 18, 2019 vowed it would “never be soft” in its crackdown in Xinjiang, after the massive leak of government documents.