A new report released by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) revealed that China’s internment camps are spreading, with over 380 locations in the western province of Xinjiang, an estimated “40% more than the previously known estimate.” It was said that hundreds of thousands of “Uighur and other Turkic and Muslim minorities” are being detained. Other figures have been higher, estimating one to three million people. Currently, 14 new detention centers are being constructed, showing China’s move from temporary sites to “permanent mass detention facilities.” The report was compiled with information from “satellite imagery analysis, construction tender records, and first-hand reports by activists and journalists who had been on the ground.”

    “Uighurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen.”

    The Xinjiang Data Project report


    Many on both sides continue to condemn the camps and call for repercussions for China. In May, Congress passed the bipartisan Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 (Uyghur and Uighur are both correct spellings), and in July, President Trump signed an order imposing sanctions on several Chinese officials.

     “If America does not speak out against human rights in China because of some commercial interest, then we lose all moral authority to speak out on…human rights violations, any place in the world.”

    Nancy Pelosi, US House Speaker

    “In my opinion, we are witnessing a new stage in the crisis,” stated Associate Professor of China Studies at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Timothy Grose. In an open letter to the United Nations, a group of 16 organizations, including the US Uyghur Human Rights Project and the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, called on the United Nations to “independently investigate and make appropriate legal determinations” regarding the camps. The letter is the most recent in “international pressure” towards Chinese officials regarding human rights.


    The Chinese Communist Party newspaper the Global Times called the ASPI report “pure slander” and said they have “no academic credibility.” The article denied the existence of any such centers and reported that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China has protected “the rights and freedom of the people of all ethnic groups, including the Uighurs.” The official government news agency Xinhua News Agency has claimed that the sites are “educational facilities where the people (denoted as trainees by the Chinese authorities) are deradicalised, given training and vocational education.”

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