Inside China’s internment camps: tear gas, Tasers and textbooksOctober 25, 2018
At the end of 2017, “higher authorities” issued directions to standardise the facilities’ operations.
New “vocational education and training service management bureaus” were set up, headed by officials experienced in running prisons and detention centres, according to local government websites.
Students would be tested on their knowledge of Mandarin and propaganda on a weekly, monthly and “seasonal” basis, and write regular “self-criticisms”, one bureau wrote in a memo.
They would spend their days “shouting slogans, singing red songs and memorising the Three Character Classic”, it said, referring to an ancient Confucian text.
Their files lodged in a centralised database, students were sorted into categories based on their offences and levels of accomplishment.
Criminals who had completed a prison sentence were released directly into the centres, under the principle of “putting untrustworthy people in a trustworthy place”.
Students who performed well would be allowed to call their families or even visit them in special rooms at the centres.
Officials were ordered to regularly visit students’ families at home to give them “anti-extremism” lessons and check for signs of anger that could harden into opposition to the Communist Party.
The new bureaus also ensured “absolute security” against “troublemaking” in the centres, including preventing “escapes”, one local management bureau wrote in a breakdown of its duties.
In addition to ex-prisoners and those charged with religious extremism, local governments were also ordered to ensure that at least one member of each household received vocational education for a minimum of one to three months – a measure ostensibly aimed at alleviating poverty in the region of 24 million.