‘Will they let us live?’ Inside Xinjiang, survivors of China’s internment camps speakDecember 17, 2020
Whatever technology misses, humans report. Inside a Uighur store near Ürümqi’s grand bazaar, a document on the wall listed 10 Uighur names and phone numbers linking nearby stores together, along with instructions to spread party doctrine, watch for outsiders and monitor acts threatening “social stability.” In a village on the outskirts of Kashgar, posters announced an upcoming disciplinary inspection of local cadres and welcomed villagers to report any suspicious behavior of the cadres.
For a year and a half, they lived without hope of release. Her father, weak with heart disease, was hospitalized several times while his children were gone — though he was not detained. Then, one day in 2019, they were suddenly let out.
“They all kept watching us after that,” she said. “The neighborhood committee, the officials, the public security, they came to our home every day.” Families like theirs, who once had contact with academic colleagues abroad, were under heightened scrutiny. They were warned never to speak to foreigners without the presence of officials.