China is not mistreating Muslims in Xinjiang province but is putting some people through training courses to avoid extremism spreading, unlike Europe, which had failed to deal with the problem, a Chinese official told reporters on Thursday. . . .
“It is not mistreatment,” said Li Xiaojun, director for publicity at the Bureau of Human Rights Affairs of the State Council Information Office. “What China is doing is to establish professional training centers, educational centers.”
“If you do not say it’s the best way, maybe it’s the necessary way to deal with Islamic or religious extremism, because the West has failed in doing so, in dealing with religious Islamic extremism,” Li told reporters on the sidelines of the U.N. Human Rights Council session in Geneva.
“Look at Belgium, look at Paris, look at some other European countries. You have failed.”
Well, that part’s certainly true.
In response to growing tensions between Han Chinese and the Uighur population of Xinjiang itself, the recruitment of Uighurs to fight in the Syrian civil war, and several terrorist attacks orchestrated by Uighur separatists, the party launched what it called the Strike Hard Campaign Against Violent Terrorism. Despite its name, the campaign’s targets are not limited to terrorists. No Uighur living in Xinjiang can escape the shadow of the party nor can members of other ethnic minorities, especially Kazakhs.
Some of the methods used to surveil and coerce the population of Xinjiang are straight from the dystopian imagination: The party has collected the DNA, iris scans, and voice samples of the province’s Uighur population, regularly scans the contents of their digital devices, uses digitally coded ID cards to track their movements, and trains CCTV cameras on their homes, streets, and marketplaces.
To students of Chinese history, other elements of the system are depressingly familiar. Cultural Revolution-style struggle sessions have been resurrected: Uighurs now gather in public meetings to denounce their relatives and publicly admit their personal political sins. Most worrisome of all is the vast network of political education camps that have been created to hold and “re-educate” Uighurs who are too attached to their mother culture. Somewhere between 600,000 and 1.2 million Uighurs—that is, approximately one out of 12—are being held in these camps.
Maybe I missed it, but has Tom weighed in here?
Though I have to say, part of this sounds like the Social Justice Warrior game plan:
A central element of this campaign is uncertainty. It is difficult to judge which of these items are official policy and which are simply the result of ad hoc decisions made by local officials. This is likely by design. One Uighur interviewee told HRW how he simply stopped using his smartphone because he could not tell which websites were allowed and which might incriminate him; another described how she stopped talking to neighbors and strangers altogether because she did not want to unintentionally say something that might bring the police to her door. Vagueness breeds fear. Fear makes the people subject to the Communist Party’s campaigns easier to control.
And the SJW types are showing new enthusiasm for gulags.