Uighur detainees listening to a “deradicalization” presentation at a reeducation camp, in a photo posted to the Xinjiang Judicial Administration’s WeChat account, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang, 2017

By BBC Staff, BBC News, November 2019

The Chinese government has consistently claimed the camps in the far western Xinjiang region offer voluntary education and training.

But official documents, seen by BBC Panorama, show how inmates are locked up, indoctrinated and punished.

China’s UK ambassador dismissed the documents as fake news.

The investigation has found new evidence which undermines Beijing’s claim that the detention camps, which have been built across Xinjiang in the past three years, are for voluntary re-education purposes to counter extremism.

About a million people – mostly from the Muslim Uighur community – are thought to have been detained without trial.

Other documents confirm the extraordinary scale of the detentions. One reveals that 15,000 people from southern Xinjiang were sent to the camps over the course of just one week in 2017.

The memo details how detainees will only be released when they can demonstrate they have transformed their behaviour, beliefs and language.

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