On the edge of a desert in far western China, an imposing building sits behind a fence topped with barbed wire. Large red characters on the facade urge people to learn Chinese, study law and acquire job skills. Guards make clear that visitors are not welcome.
Inside, hundreds of ethnic Uighur Muslims spend their days in a high-pressure indoctrination program, where they are forced to listen to lectures, sing hymns praising the Chinese Communist Party and write “self-criticism” essays, according to detainees who have been released.
The goal is to remove any devotion to Islam.
Abdusalam Muhemet, 41, said the police detained him for reciting a verse of the Quran at a funeral. After two months in a nearby camp, he and more than 30 others were ordered to renounce their past lives. Mr. Muhemet said he went along but quietly seethed.
“That was not a place for getting rid of extremism,” he recalled. “That was a place that will breed vengeful feelings and erase Uighur identity.”
The Chinese authorities have had to deal with some Islamic extremism in recent years, but how can anything justify this?:
A resident or local cadre is assigned to monitor every 10 families in Xinjiang, reporting on comings and goings and activities deemed suspicious, including praying and visits to mosques, according to residents and government reports. Residents said the police sometimes search homes for forbidden books and suspect items such as prayer mats, using special equipment to check walls and floors for hidden caches.
The authorities are also gathering biometric data and DNA. Two Uighurs, a former official and a student, said they were ordered to show up at police buildings where officers recorded their voices, took pictures of their heads at different angles and collected hair and blood samples.
The pressure on Uighur villages intensifies when party “work teams” arrive and take up residence, sometimes living in local homes. The teams ask villagers to inform on relatives, friends and neighbors, and they investigate residents’ attitudes and activities, according to government reports published online.
One account published last year described how the authorities in one village arranged for detainees accused of “religious extremism” to be denounced by their relatives at a public rally, and encouraged other families to report similar activities.
“More and more people are coming forward with information,” Cao Lihai, an editor for a party journal, wrote in the report. “Some parents have personally brought in their children to give themselves up.”
Read the whole thing. Please, do read it all. It is absolutely horrifying. The Chinese government is trying to exterminate their religion and culture. One could not blame Beijing for fighting against Islamic radicalization, and Islamist violence, but this is like dropping a nuclear bomb on a city to wipe out a terror cell.
If they do it to Muslims, they’ll do it to Christians, and anybody else who gets in their way. Notice especially the Total Surveillance State: using DNA, as well as putting cameras in people’s houses. It is utterly horrifying.