''I’ve been going to this region for 10 years now as a researcher,'' says Darren Byler, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Asian Studies at University of Colorado, Boulder. .css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link{color:inherit;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link:hover,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited:hover,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link:focus,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited:focus{color:#B80000;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link::after,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited::after{content:'';position:absolute;top:0;right:0;bottom:0;left:0;z-index:2;}China's hidden 're-education' camps. A drone video even was uploaded to social media, showing detainees transferred from trains blindfolded and shackled. image caption A Muslim man leads the call to prayer in China's Xinjiang region in … How could we safely separate the propaganda from the reality? It was not the first time China had restricted fasting in Xinjiang, but it followed a slew of attacks on the public attributed to Uighur extremists, prompting concerns the ban would increase tensions. Read about our approach to external linking. New Yorker fires Jeffrey Toobin for exposing himself on Zoom, Black people 'twice as likely to catch coronavirus', Joe Biden picks Ron Klain as White House chief of staff, Alexa to start second-guessing what users want, Europe moves ahead with Ariel exoplanet mission, TripAdvisor warns users over Thai hotel that legally pursued reviewer, Sinai peacekeepers killed in helicopter crash, Israeli sources say. And we know, from other sources, that the definition of extremism is now drawn very widely indeed - having a long beard for example, or simply contacting relatives overseas. Will it be a happy ending for Innuendo Bingo? But as a network of academics and activists uncovered evidence of the camps’ locations, and the reality of what’s going on inside, China changed its story. Standing up to Sicily's sex-work traffickers, Diwali with a difference under Covid-19. There is evidence of other Uighurs being forced to return home, either from elsewhere in China or from abroad, and Mr Ghappar's family were convinced that he had disappeared into the re-education camps. And in the 1930s and 1940s, Germany organised media trips to camps at Sonnenburg and Theresienstadt, designed to demonstrate how "humane" they were. Experts estimate one million people are being held in detention centers in China’s Xinjiang region. There are complaints of severe restrictions on Islam, with fewer mosques and strict control over religious schools. When the officers later came around with thermometers, several inmates including Mr Ghappar, registered higher than the normal body temperature of 37C (98.6F). .css-8h1dth-Link{font-family:ReithSans,Helvetica,Arial,freesans,sans-serif;font-weight:700;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;color:#FFFFFF;}.css-8h1dth-Link:hover,.css-8h1dth-Link:focus{-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}Read about our approach to external linking. Uyghurs are discouraged to retain their ethnic identity in fear of separatism from the larger nation, and it is considered a threat to practice the group’s religion. BBC tor betining ning Uzbek Afghan sehipiside Uyghurlar heqqide sinaq teriqide bir xewer beti echildi we xewerler bir mezgil waqtliq ishlinip turdu. Xinjiang, in China’s northwest, is essentially the world’s largest open-air prison with restrictions placed on Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. The video Uighur model Merdan Ghappar filmed inside China's detention system The video of Mr Ghappar, along with a number of accompanying text messages also passed to the BBC… ''I went to almost all western European countries and I talked to local Uyghur communities and encouraged them to speak up against what is happening to their relatives,'' says Harri. The option was "of choosing between a judicial hearing or education in the de-extremification facilities". James Millward, a professor of history at Georgetown University and an expert on China's policies in Xinjiang, translated and analysed Mr Ghappar's text messages for the BBC. But, upon his release in November 2019, any relief he felt at having served his time was short lived. There was the heavily managed 2004 press tour of the US-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, in the wake of the abuse scandal, with reporters herded away from detainees clamouring to have their voices heard, some while waving their prosthetic legs. Despite heavy and violent censorship, documentaries, both short and long, whistle-blow and highlight the lives at the stake. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG23BPrP3qQ. Log in sign up. The communist regime is using cutting edge technology, mass surveillance tools and artificial intelligence to control an entire population. All of them members of Xinjiang's largest, mainly Muslim ethnic group - the Uighurs - they said they'd been "infected by extremism" and that they'd volunteered to have their "thoughts transformed". "We can't breathe. Xinjiang has become one of the most surveillanced states, with over 160,000 cameras installed in the city of Urumqi by 2016, according to China security and surveillance experts. 2.3k members in the Uyghur community. After losing contact with his family, Halmurat Harri launched the #MeTooUyghur social media movement. The list of questions sent by the BBC to the Chinese authorities asked them to confirm whether Merdan Ghappar or his uncle are suspected of any crime in China. Eye-witnesses and human rights experts claim up to 1 million people are being held in ’re-education camps’ in China. But more than a dozen Uighurs that 101 East spoke to, who eventually fled to Turkey, speak of being held against their will, beaten, tortured and starved. VideoDiwali with a difference under Covid-19, .css-orcmk8-HeadlineContainer{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;-ms-flex-pack:justify;justify-content:space-between;}Stonehenge A303 tunnel plan approved by transport secretary.css-1dedj2h-Rank{-webkit-align-self:center;-ms-flex-item-align:center;align-self:center;color:#B80000;margin-left:3.125rem;}1, Xbox and Call of Duty cause record broadband data use in UK2, Nóra Quoirin death: Girl's feet 'dirty but not damaged', inquest hears3, Hugo Boss drops Scouse slogan copyright action4, Chester hospital baby deaths: Nurse Lucy Letby in court5, Coronavirus: Year-long waits for hospital care in England worst since 20086, Lee Cain: Top Boris Johnson aide quits amid infighting at No 107, Queen's Platinum Jubilee to include extra bank holiday8, Carrie Gracie calls watchdog's report on BBC equal pay a 'whitewash'9, Five Covid numbers to watch: Is Scotland turning a corner?10, .css-vh7bxp-PromoLink:link{color:inherit;}.css-vh7bxp-PromoLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-vh7bxp-PromoLink:link,.css-vh7bxp-PromoLink:visited{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-vh7bxp-PromoLink:link:hover,.css-vh7bxp-PromoLink:visited:hover,.css-vh7bxp-PromoLink:link:focus,.css-vh7bxp-PromoLink:visited:focus{color:#006DEF;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}.css-vh7bxp-PromoLink:link::after,.css-vh7bxp-PromoLink:visited::after{content:'';position:absolute;top:0;right:0;bottom:0;left:0;z-index:2;}Have fun and help change lives. Authorities there insist they are just training schools. At the same time, social media, news and documentary coverage has an undeniable role in sharing this treatment around the world, a tool of civic media in a time of emergency. The video of Mr Ghappar, along with a number of accompanying text messages also passed to the BBC, together provide a chilling and extremely rare first-hand account of China's highly secure and secretive detention system - sent directly from the inside. The BBC sets out why. Little more than a month later, police knocked on his door, telling him he needed to return to Xinjiang to complete a routine registration procedure. "Separatist forces at home and abroad have politicised this geographical term and called for those who speak Turkic languages and believe in Islam to unite," the announcement says. Some performed highly staged and choreographed music and dance routines for us, wearing traditional ethnic costumes, whirling around their desks, smiles fixed in place. .css-8h1dth-Link{font-family:ReithSans,Helvetica,Arial,freesans,sans-serif;font-weight:700;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;color:#FFFFFF;}.css-8h1dth-Link:hover,.css-8h1dth-Link:focus{-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}Read about our approach to external linking. Will it be a happy ending for Innuendo Bingo? So, it's quite a rare source.". It's a moral issue, do you understand?". "He speaks wonderful Chinese, writes very well and uses fancy phrases, so clearly this is not someone who needs education for a vocational purpose.". He writes about the constant sound of screaming, coming from elsewhere in the jail. Security was increased and many Uighurs detained as suspects. The BBC has seen evidence that appears to show he was not suspected of any further offence, with authorities simply stating that "he may need to do a few days of education at his local community" - a euphemism for the camps. +China has turned the northwestern region of Xinjiang into a vast experiment in domestic surveillance. .css-gw44ni-IconContainer{display:inline-block;height:1em;width:1em;vertical-align:-0.125em;margin-right:0.25em;}playThe Russian provinces buckling under Covid-19. Inside the destruction of Asia's last rainforests. The region's economy has largely revolved around agriculture and trade, with towns such as Kashgar thriving as hubs along the famous Silk Road. News outlets such as HBO VICE’s China’s Vanishing Muslims: Undercover in the Most Dystopian Place in the World used hidden cameras and posed as tourists to enter into the heavily policed Xinjiang region. rare and restricted media access to Australia's offshore immigration detention centres. I simply wanted to make a voice through making this film and publicizing it.”. Those in it were "almost criminals," they said, viewed as a threat not because they'd committed a crime, but because they might have the potential to do so. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqJyYMe8jMY. Read about our approach to external linking. Then, suddenly, the messages stopped. The region has had intermittent autonomy and occasional independence, but what is now known as Xinjiang came under Chinese rule in the 18th Century. Information to the media is only allowed in the form of highly controlled press conferences or government statements. We saw the dormitories in which these "extremists" slept, up to 10 per room, in bunk beds and with a toilet at one end, shielded with only a thin sheet of fabric. And after that I dared not to talk," he adds. Dr Adrian Zenz, a senior fellow in China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and another leading Xinjiang scholar, suggests that the video's real value is what it says about the Chinese government claim that the camp system is being wound down. Unstable and by far the most volatile province in the country, it’s a unique opportunity to visit an area that’s normally out of bounds to tourists. All Rights Reserved. It’s thought as many as a million Muslims from the Uighur community are being held without trial in Xinjiang. LIVE: Joe Wicks does PE for 24 Hours! "They were brought to the police station and beaten until they screamed like babies, the skin on their buttocks split open and they couldn't sit down.". These short documentary clips show the world how little we know about the inner workings of this incarceration system. Mounting evidence suggests a system of forced labor is emerging in Xinjiang. ETIM is said to want to establish an independent East Turkestan in China. What might be the consequences if they did let something slip? In response to the latest slew of attacks, the authorities have launched what they call a "year-long campaign against terrorism", stepping up security in Xinjiang and conducting more military drills in the region. "He was detained just because I am abroad and I take part in protests against Chinese human rights abuses.".