Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

China legalizes 'reeducation camps' for Muslim Uighurs

China legalizes 'reeducation camps' for Muslim Uighurs

Amid worldwide condemnation and concern, China has repeatedly denied the existence of these camps, at least semantically, declaring that there are no "re-education camps" or "counter-terrorism camps" in Xinjiang, only "vocational education and employment training centers" which help those individuals charged with criminal misdemeanors acquire "employment skills and legal knowledge" and assist in their "rehabilitation and reintegration" back into society.

China has also justified its method of "training" religious extremists as "the necessary way to deal with Islamic or religious extremism".

The remarks, coinciding with annual rights report by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, were the latest signal of more assertive USA statements on Chinese rights issues as the Trump administration presses its trade battles with Beijing.

Reports of mass detentions and strict surveillance of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in China have sparked a growing worldwide outcry, and prompted the United States to consider sanctions.

The secretive inmate transfers began earlier this year, according to a Radio Free Asia report, but reports of Beijing requisitioning the Xinjiang train station has observers concerned the operation is ramping up.

A child and a woman wait outside a school entrance with multiple layers of barbed wire and barricades in Peyzawat, in western China's Xinjiang region on August 31, 2018. China accuses Islamist militants and separatists of orchestrating the trouble.

China says its network of detention centres will also teach Mandarin Chinese, legal concepts and provide vocational training.

Members of Uighur, also spelled Uyghur, Kazakh and other Muslim minorities who live overseas say they have not been able to contact relatives in China, while authorities are placing children separated from their detained or exiled parents into dozens of state-run orphanages across Xinjiang.

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"The amended PRC "Population and Family Planning Law" and provincial-level regulations continued to limit couples' freedom to build their families as they see fit and include provisions that require couples to be married to have children and limit them to bearing two children", the report states.

Officials and state media "say the growing number of products labelled halal allows Islamic rituals to penetrate secular life in China", the newpaper adds.

On Monday 8 October 2018, Communist Party leaders in the regional capital Urumqi led cadres in swearing an oath to fight the "pan-halal trend", AFP reported.

"This strategy seems to be one of cultural and political re-engineering of the entire population", he said.

In a submission to the United Nations, the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress estimated at least 1 million Uyghurs were being held in political indoctrination camps as of July.

The Uighurs are ethnically Turkic Muslims mostly based in Xinjiang.

In recent decades, large numbers of Han Chinese (China's ethnic majority) have migrated to Xinjiang, and the Uighurs feel their culture and livelihoods are under threat.

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