The Spectre of Insecurity: The CCP’s Mass Internment Strategy in XinjiangMarch 01, 2019
Take, for example, two local government reports from Yining and Turpan in March 2015. Rusticated cadres and local security personnel identified 3,152 at-risk individuals in Turpan city, and by August 2014 3,087 were declared transformed. Similarly, 2,435 individuals were earmarked for re-education in Yining county by October 2014, with claims that nearly 2,400 individuals had been reformed by the end of the year.
Following a 14 February 2017 knife-attack near Hotan, where five civilians were killed by three Uyghur perpetrators, the XUAR Department of Justice issued a directive ordering the establishment of concentrated transformation centers throughout southern Xinjiang.
With the “poison of religious extremist thought” spreading and infecting the vast majority of the masses, in April 2017 a Uyghur party officials told her community that “special times require special educational methods,” as previous efforts had not produced the desired results, meaning “we must adopt concentrated and intensified education.”
Local officials were apparently given quotas and lists regarding how to identify the “sprouts” (苗头) of religious extremism, which included innocuous religious and cultural practices, such as abstaining from alcohol or smoking; covering one’s head with a headscarf, or growing a beard; vilifying bilingual education, or even purchasing dumbbells, boxing gloves, or other strengthening equipment for no apparent reason. Religious belief was no longer the sole target; instead, anyone exhibiting “abnormal behaviour” (异常活动) was now subject to remolding.