China has built 380 internment camps in the northwestern Xinjiang region over the past three years, reports an Australian think tank based on satellite imagery.
The camps are used to imprison Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) states that 14 of the 380 camps are still under construction.
The researchers distinguish four categories, from less closely guarded ‘reeducation camps’ to heavily guarded prisons. They think that most of the internment centers in the region are now mapped.
Human rights organisations previously stated that Uyghurs are tortured and brainwashed in these kinds of camps.
“ The evidence in this database shows that despite claims by Chinese officials that prisoners are leaving camps, significant investments in the construction of new internment facilities continued in 2019 and 2020, says ASPI researcher Nathan Ruser against the British newspaper The Guardian.
The satellite images and coordinates of the locations have been published in an online database, Xinjiang Data Project.
According to the ASPI report, there are often factories in the camps, suggesting that there is a link between the mass internment of Uyghurs and large-scale forced labour.
The Chinese Government denies human rights violations in Xinjiang and says that the training and re-education programmes should combat poverty and terrorism in the region. Previously, Beijing denied the existence of the camps.
NOS on 3 made this video about the situation of the Uyghurs in China: