Chinese officials, ahead of a scheduled international inspection, are “drastically” intensifying efforts to conceal evidence of hundreds of tortuous “re-education centers” for Muslims in Xinjiang, the Epoch Times reported Thursday, citing sources and recent activity in the region.
Last month, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that China is expecting the inspection within weeks.
In response to the international outcry over the facilities, also known as mind-transformation centers, several United Nations members states reportedly urged China to allow inspectors into the region in November 2017.
The U.S. and U.N. have accused China of imprisoning up to one million Muslims — predominantly from Xinjiang’s Uighur (or Uyghur) ethnic minority, but also Kazakhs and Kyrgyz — at the concentration camps.
Arguing that the camps are vocational and educational centers aimed at combatting terrorism and religious extremism, China has repeatedly denied the detainees are subjected to communist indoctrination and are facing systemic torture, disappearances, executions, arbitrary detentions, as well as suppression of cultural and religious life, among other crimes, at the facilities.
The Epoch Times revealed:
A confidentiality agreement for prisoners detained at a facility located in Awat County, Xinjiang, was obtained by The Epoch Times. The agreement, written in the Uyghur Arabic alphabet, says that prisoners must not “reveal the study, life, number of people, and internal workings of the training centers,” or they will be held accountable “according to the relevant laws and regulations of our country.”
Evidence of the mass-detention facilities, such as barbed wire fencing, is being removed and a source in Xinjiang confirmed with the Chinese-language Epoch Times in September 2018 that local police officers have signed confidentiality agreements to not reveal that they are transporting Uyghurs elsewhere. According to the source, about 1,500 Uyghurs in the area where he resides were being sent to other locations.
China is reportedly expanding its crackdown on Muslims to other areas in the country that house Islam adherents. A Reuters investigation found the there are up to 1,200 so-called re-education centers in the predominantly Muslim Uighur- Xinjiang province alone.
In December, RFA reported authorities had forced residents in Xinjiang to sign confidentiality agreements that threaten imprisonment for “three generations of their family” for “any negative comments” about the facilities when the international inspectors arrive.
“A copy of another CCP [Chinese Communist Party] confidentiality agreement, obtained by online magazine Bitter Winter, demanded that residents not ‘spread rumors,’ give media interviews, or disclose information through social media or SMS messaging “that contradicts the policies of the Party and the government,” the Epoch Times pointed out.