The Chinese government is forcing Uighur Muslims into concentration camps

Recently, documents were leaked from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) about the detention camps that many Uighur Muslim people are being forced into. Across China, databases are being used to collect information on Uighur Muslim Chinese citizens. That information is then used to determine who is detained and sent to the camps. 

In some cases, almost entire villages have been imprisoned. One mother of four was detained for having the WhatsApp messaging program on her phone. The Chinese government refuses to release the exact number of people being held in these detention camps.

The few details that were released about the camps describe it as a place with no privacy and where detainees are constantly watched by strict guards that give out harsh punishments.

“‘If you exceeded two minutes in the toilet, they hit our heads with an electric prod,’” said Gulzira, a former detainee of the camps.

The camps are based on a point system. Detainees enter the camp with 1,000 points. From then on, points can only be lost, not gained. If they have under 500 points, they are required to stay another year at the camp. Even actions are small as yawning or smiling can result in the loss of those points.

“‘There was military discipline in everything we did, how you walk, stand up straight. If you didn’t, they would slap you,’” said Orynbek Koksebek, another survivor of the camps.

According to the leaked documents, detainees need to have a good score on the point system, be listed as a low threat and have stayed at least one year in order to be released from the camps. Repenting and feeling remorse for their crimes is a trait that is emphasized at the camps. The Chinese government claims that the camps are just job training centers where humane methods are used to prevent the spread of Islamic extremists; however, that claim is not supported by evidence.

“‘The main purpose is to brainwash you, so you forget your roots and everything about Islam and ethnic identity,’” said Zharqynbek Otan, another former detainee who survived his stay at the camps.