China faces growing condemnation for a network of mass detention camps holding more than a million people in the western region of Xinjiang. It is home to millions of Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities, where many of them face forced re-education. The government is referring to the concentration camps as “boarding schools” or “vocational training centers.”
Former detainees have described being tortured at the camps, overcrowded cells and being subjected to a brutal daily regimen of indoctrination that has driven some people to suicide. Activists have also documented police checkpoints across Xinjiang, mass DNA collection programs, and martial law conditions in the region.
“Some international voices say Xinjiang has concentration camps and re-education camps.” the governor of the region, Shohrat Zakir, said in a briefing to China’s parliament, “These kinds of statements are completely fabricated lies, and are extraordinarily absurd,” he said. “They are the same as boarding schools.”
Some of these “boarding schools” are rigged with razor wire and watch towers.