Leaked documents from the Chinese Communist Party obtained by The New York Times relay key details on the detention of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the country.
The Times reported that it is not clear how the 24 documents were gathered, but that they give insights into the country’s detention of more than a million Uighurs, Kazakhs and others at internment camps over the past three years.
The documents reportedly show that President Xi Jinping set the stage for a crack down on the minority group after Uighur militants stabbed more than 150 people in 2014. Xi endorsed a “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism” using the “organs of dictatorship,” and showing “absolutely no mercy,” the newspaper reported.
The Times also reported that the documents show that Xi encouraged party leaders to mimic aspects of the U.S. “war on terror” after the 9/11 attacks.
Interment facilities in the Xinjiang region quickly grew following the August 2016 appointment of regional party boss Chen Quanguo, the Times reported. He used Xi’s speeches to justify internment and encouraged authorities to “round up everyone who should be rounded up.”
Chen also purged officials he believed were in the way, including one leader who had released thousands of inmates, according to the newspaper.
The total of 403 leaked pages included nearly 200 pages of speeches by Xi and others and more than 150 pages of surveillance and control of the Uighur community in Xinjiang, the Times reported. The paper noted that plans to put restrictions on Islam in other parts of the country are referenced.
The documents also reportedly included instructions on how to deal with minority students who had returned to Xinjiang in 2017.
According to the newspaper, officials were recommended to tell students that their family members were “infected” by the “virus” of Islamic radicalism and needed to be cured.
“If they don’t undergo study and training, they’ll never thoroughly and fully understand the dangers of religious extremism,” one statement reportedly said. “No matter what age, anyone who has been infected by religious extremism must undergo study.”
The Times reported that officials used a scoring system to decide who could be released from the camps. Authorities were directed to tell students that their actions could impact their relatives’ scores.
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