China’s Prisons Swell After Deluge of Arrests Engulfs MuslimsAugust 31, 2019
Courts in Xinjiang — where largely Muslim minorities, including Uighurs and Kazakhs, make up more than half of the population — sentenced a total of 230,000 people to prison or other punishments in 2017 and 2018, significantly more than in any other period on record in decades for the region.
During 2017 alone, Xinjiang courts sentenced almost 87,000 defendants, 10 times more than the previous year, to prison terms of five years or longer. Arrests increased eightfold; prosecutions fivefold.
Han Chinese residents have been largely spared from the wave of detentions, according to experts as well as data from Han-majority parts of Xinjiang. Arrests and indictments in areas run by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps — a quasi-military administration overseeing areas with an 85 percent Han population — rose modestly or remained flat in 2017.