In a country where connections can get you anywhere, the “transformation through education” camps in China are off-limits.
Bitter Winter recently spoke to a government employee who works in Kashi prefecture.
He recalled an incident from 2017 in which a government official, Mai Maitijiang (pseudonym), was caught having a phone conversation with a “suspicious” Uyghur individual. He was soon locked up in a “transformation through education” camp. When one of his unit staff members tried to intervene on his behalf, the plea was ignored.
However, in another incident, such a plea proved to be more costly. Two employees in a sub-unit of a government institution in Hotan prefecture tried to appeal for bail on behalf of detained Uyghurs. They knew they were innocent and felt that there might have been a mistake regarding their detention. However, when they made an official request, they were fired on the spot. They were told that this was a “lenient” punishment for their insubordination.
The government employee said, “In China—a place where one can usually use connections or money to get anything done—the “transformation through education” camps have become off-limits.”
Speaking out in favor of detainees can also get one labeled as “two-faced,” which refers to those who are not loyal to the Communist Party and sympathize with ethnic minorities. That can further lead to discrimination at work and personal environments.
More than 90% residents in Kashi’s Yecheng county are Uyghurs. According to another well-informed source, of these, nearly 40,000 are already locked up in camps. However, even though they are innocent, they can never be bailed out by anyone in any way.
“Those who have been taken to the “transformation through education” camps may consider themselves lucky. If you’re taken away by the National Security Bureau, it’s over – it means you’re going to be tortured, and nobody knows if you’ll survive,” the source said.
Reported by Li Zaili