Hacked Chinese police photographs and documents have been published revealing the highly secretive system of mass incarceration, the shoot-to-kill policy for people who try to escape, and the photographs of detained people, in the Xinjiang region of China. This mass revelation happened as a huge cache of data from the police computer servers was hacked in the region.
This discovery is regarded as the Xinjian police files and was published back in 2018 by various news organizations including the BBC. From there this data has been passed on by hackers to US-based scholar and activist, Dr. Adrian Zenz, who shared it with international media early this year. The publication was in view of the recent visit of the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, to Xinjiang.
According to a report by Bloomberg News, Bachelet told a group of China-based diplomats on Monday that her trip was aimed at promoting, protecting, and respecting human rights. She did not mention that it was an investigation. Critics of the Beijing government have expressed concerns that her itinerary is going to be under the tight control of the government.
A brief history of the Uyghur community in China
The Uyghurs are the largest minority ethnic group with a population of 12 million, in China’s north-western province of Xinjiang. Culturally and ethnically, they see themselves close to Central Asian Nations and speak a language similar to Turkish. In the past few decades, there has been a surge in the migration of Han Chinese into the Xinjiang region to dilute the minority population there and propagate China’s ethnic minority (Han Chinese).
There have also been reports where China has been accused of targeting Muslim religious figures and banning religious practices in the region, as well as destroying mosques and tombs. Even the women in that region are forced into labor and China has been forcibly mass sterilizing Uyghur women to control the population of this minority group. There have been attempts to separate children from their families and also break the community’s cultural traditions and practices.
China accused of inhumane acts in Xinjiang
The ruling Communist Party in China has been accused by several countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and the Netherlands, of committing genocide. There are allegations that they have detained more than 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the far-western region of China.
A UN human rights committee in 2018 said it had credible reports that China was holding up to a million people in “counter-extremism centers” aka re-education camps in Xinjiang. Earlier, leaked documents known as the China Cables made clear that the camps were intended to be run as high-security prisons, with strict discipline and punishments.
Chinese officials and diplomats are claiming such allegations as “lies of the century” and insist that Beijing’s policy in Xinjiang is concerned with counter-terrorism, de-radicalization, and vocational training.
On Tuesday China’s ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, tweeted: “Such a shame for BBC to carry the fabricated story about so-called ‘detention camps. Pathetic for the media, in cahoots with the notorious rumor monger, to once again spread disinformation about Xinjiang.”