The long-awaited visit . . .
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is currently on day four of a six-day visit to the Xinjiang region in China. Bachelet initially announced her desire to visit the region in September 2018 after the release of a report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on living conditions of the predominantly Muslim minority Uyghur population, which detailed arbitrary and mass incarceration, re-education, torture, and sterilization. However, the visit was delayed until China and the UN agreed on the terms of the visit. China was resolute in its request for the visit to occur after the Beijing Winter Olympics and for it to be “friendly.” Many fear the highly orchestrated nature of the visit will prevent Bachelet from gaining an understanding of the real conditions faced by the Uyghur population.
Xinjiang police files reveal further information about Xinjiang camps . . .
On Tuesday, several large media outlets published documents that have come to be known as ‘the Xinjiang police files.’ The files were distributed to international media outlets by Dr. Adrian Zenz, a U.S.-based researcher and activist who received them from anonymous hackers. The files include records dating back to 2018 that detail the incarceration of roughly 250,000 people between the ages of 15 and 73. The leaked information contradicts the Chinese government’s claims that the Uyghurs willingly attend the re-education and work camps. Images reveal the residents looking distressed, and documents indicate the camps are guarded.
China’s response to leaks suggests continued tensions . . .
Despite the leaked files, China has continued to deny any mistreatment of Uyghur and other minorities. Spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, Wang Wenbin, has claimed the documents are merely “the latest example of the anti-China forces’ smearing of Xinjiang,” suggesting the government will maintain its narrative that citizens participate in the camps willingly. So far, foreign ministers from Germany and the U.K. and senior officials from the U.S. and Europe have expressed condemnation of the conditions revealed by the Xinjiang police files. This is not the first leak the Chinese government has had to confront. In 2019, the Xinjiang Papers revealed China’s actions against the Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang, though Beijing’s continued denial provides little hope that conditions will change.