Inside Xinjiang’s Prison StateFebruary 26, 2021
The changes he saw in his home town alarmed him. Surveillance cameras and police checkpoints had become ubiquitous in Xinjiang. Between 2016 and 2017, authorities advertised more than ninety thousand police and security jobs and built more than seven thousand police stations. In towns and villages across Xinjiang, residents described seeing armed guards, metal detectors, and police patrols in armored vehicles. In Akkoi Farm, seemingly every house now flew a Chinese flag. Police officers barged into homes, collecting prayer rugs, Qurans, and works of Kazakh literature. Sometimes, they burned these items in people’s yards. Authorities removed a crescent-moon finial from the dome of a village mosque. In the cemetery, tombstones inscribed with Perso-Arabic script were demolished. Kokteubai searched for the markers where his parents were buried. They had been destroyed.