Published: Thu, October 11, 2018

China legalises its secret mass internment camps for Uighur Muslim minority

China legalises its secret mass internment camps for Uighur Muslim minority

In practice, the centers are internment camps in which as many as 1 million minority Muslims have been placed in the past 12 months, according to rights groups and NGO reports.

Urumqi, capital of the largely Muslim Chinese region of Xinjiang, will crack down on activities that blur the boundary between religion and secular life and encourage "extremism", the local government said.

One of the new clauses added to Xinjiang's anti-extremism laws said the so-called training centres were meant to "educate and transform" detainees.

"Governments above the county level can set up education and transformation organisations and supervising departments such as vocational training centres, to educate and transform people who have been influenced by extremism", said a new clause in the law issued by the regional legislature on Tuesday.

The move is likely to further raise worldwide concerns over human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region where many Uighurs, who oppose growing state surveillance, have been detained under the "reeducation" campaign.


Chinese authorities deny that the internment camps exist but say petty criminals are sent to vocational "training centres". Former detainees in the centres say they were forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the Communist Party in what they describe as political indoctrination camps.

China launched its "Strike Hard" campaign targeting separatism in Xinjiang in 2014 following deadly violence in the region.

The Urumqi Communist Party leaders also said they would require government officials and party members to firmly believe in Marxism-Leninism, not religion, and to speak standard Mandarin Chinese in public.

The state-run Global Times tabloid on Wednesday cited "experts" as saying that the "pan-halal" tendency blurs the boundary between religion and secular life, making it easy to "fall into the mire of religious extremism".

Like this: