A “transformation through education” camp in Xinjiang’s Urumqi city houses a secret factory where 300 detained Uyghur women are forced to work.
Bitter Winter has received reports that over 300 Uyghur women are held inside an ordinary-looking building that has been transformed into a ”transformation through education” camp on Hongmiaozi road in the Saybagh district of Urumqi city. According to sources, there is a heavily guarded secret factory in the building’s basement where detainees are forced to work.
A red wall surrounds the building, and high-definition infrared surveillance cameras are installed on it. Two layers of barbed wire have been installed atop the wall with electric wire netting inserted in parts of the wall. The path in front of the building has been blocked off to prevent anyone from passing through, and squad cars are parked at all times on a narrow alley between the camp and the adjoining buildings. Riot police officers on motorcycles are patrolling the area.
The overwhelming majority of the windows of the 4-story building have been sealed with cement, and only a few tiny windows remain.
According to a government insider, there are over 300 Uyghur women locked up in the building where, like in other “transformation through education camps,” the inmates are indoctrinated, made to study Mandarin and work. The women detained there are all being held for indeterminate periods of time, unable to get out. About a dozen women live in a room that is less than ten square meters in size. Each room is fitted with a surveillance camera.
The source also informed Bitter Winter that the building is too heavily guarded inside, where armed police, public safety, and security personnel are jointly taking charge of the security operations. Armed guards are stationed at all times, and artillery weapons are placed in the courtyard of the building. To enter the building, all visitors have to register their ID and contact information and provide other documents, like residence permits. Besides, they all must sign a confidentiality agreement guaranteeing they won’t leak any information about the facility.
The basement is the most heavily guarded area of the building, where, reportedly, a secret factory has been established. To enter it, both detainees and personnel have to go through double security checks, sometimes, four times a day.
As Bitter Winter reported earlier, the detainees of “transformation through education camps” spend part of their time in forced labor. As per a government source, by making detainees work, the authorities in Xinjiang are not only solving the problem of the overcrowding in the camps but also profit from the forced labor performed by the detainees.
“For the government, the combination of ‘transformation through education’ camps with factories is a new chain of profits. Authorities are even planning to establish at least five “factory training centers” across seven areas in Urumqi,” said the source.
Reported by Li Zaili