Children of Detained Uyghur Parents Held in ‘Welfare Schools’ in China’s XinjiangAugust 16, 2021
More than 80 percent of the Uyghur children at a village preschool in China’s far-western Xinjiang have at least one parent in state custody, while pupils with both parents in detention attend a separate “welfare school” where they are continuously monitored, RFA has learned.
Twenty-five of the 30 children enrolled in the preschool at one township in Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) prefecture have one parent being detained by authorities, while those with both parents detained are being taught at a separate “welfare preschool”— a boarding school that functions like an orphanage for children four to six years old — a security officer at the school told RFA.
“At our preschool, some of the children still have their mother [on the outside], and some of the children still have their father,” she told RFA’s Uyghur Service. “There are something like 25 of these children” among the total 30.
About 150,000 people live in 15 villages of Chaharbagh township in Yarkand (Shache) county.
During the winter, the children with one detained parent live in dormitories at the preschool, and during the warmer months, they are allowed to live at home and be brought to school each day by their other parent, said the security officer who declined to be named in order to speak freely.
The children of detainees are sometimes allowed to have video chats with their parents, though they are unable to speak freely during the brief meetings, she said.
Some of the children are aware that their parents are in re-education facilities when they speak to them via video chats, she added.
RFA has confirmed similar arrangements for children in other parts of the XUAR.