'If you enter a camp, you never come out': inside China's war on IslamJanuary 11, 2019
Today, Hotan prefecture is under “grid style” management, involving intense policing and mass surveillance. On the Luopu government website, it is described as “often in a state of level one or two response”, the highest state of emergency. In Luopu, like many places in Xinjiang, the movements of Uighur residents are restricted. While Han Chinese are waved through security checkpoints, Uighur commuters register their ID cards, do full body scans, have their vehicles searched and their faces scanned. CCTV monitoring on a street corner in Luopu county. Hand-held devices scan smartphones for content deemed problematic. A police officer demanded to check the phone of a Guardian reporter because, she said “someone saw Arabic or Uighur language on it”.
In a village in Luopu county, almost every home has a plaque on the door marking it a “model red star family”. These are families who have met requirements, including demonstrating “anti-extremism thought” and a “sense of modern civilisation”.
Over the past year, Luopu local officials have gathered villagers to sing patriotic songs, a practice common in the camps, or to teach female residents how to be “good new era women” who promote “ideological emancipation”.