Fresh evidence has emerged against China showing surveillance, intimidation, and harassment of members of the Uyghur Muslim minority community at concentration camps in China’s Xinjiang region. A 20-minute video shot by a bespectacled person named ‘Guanguan’, who traveled to China’s far western region in 2019 but went back in 2020 after reading an article from the US news outlet BuzzFeed that indicated the locations of some of the camps there, Radio Free Asia reported. “Due to the Chinese government’s restrictions, foreign journalists can hardly gain access to Xinjiang to conduct interviews,” he says in the video adding that I thought to myself, foreign journalists can’t go there, but good for me, I can.
The video also includes English subtitles and was posted on the YouTube platform in early October. In the opening of the video, Guanguan says that the Chinese government has set up many concentration camps in Xinjiang where local ethnic minorities and dissidents are imprisoned without a trial, Radio Free Asia reported. These camps have been set up by the Chinese authorities, who have reportedly detained more than a million Muslims in these camps. The Chinese Communist Party refers to these detention centres as ‘re-education’ camps. Most of the people who have been arbitrarily detained are Uyghur, a predominantly Turkic-speaking ethnic group primarily from China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, Council of Foreign Relations informed. The camps are believed to have held about 1.8 million.
The video includes scenes from different regions in Xinjiang including some footage from Kumul, Mori Kazakh Autonomous County, Urumqi, and several others. In Hami in eastern Xinjiang, Guanguan drives by the Hami Compulsory Isolated Drug Rehabilitation Center, where says he suspects the centre is a concentration camp, and point towards bars over the building’s windows and razor wire fencing along the compound walls.
In Urumqi, he drives down a road with several buildings with watchtowers and high fences topped with barbed wire, Radio Free Asia reported. “This must be the largest cluster of concentration camps in the Urumqi area,” he says.
China has been rebuked globally for the crackdown on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Early this year, the United States become the first country in the world to declare the Chinese actions in Xinjiang as “genocide”. Recently protests were also held outside the Chinese embassy in London and consulate in Manchester against China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims, demanding Beijing to close the concentration camps in Xinjiang province.