At a recently discovered “transformation through education” camp, authorities are monitoring each and every movement of detainees.
Our reporter has now discovered another such school that has been taken over by Chinese authorities to house Muslim detainees. The Third Middle School in Qapqal Xibe county of the region is a six-story building that currently holds nearly 600 detainees. The elderly and sick are held in a separate building.
The building has three surveillance rooms, where on-duty personnel monitor the screen every second of the day. The detainees are monitored while showering even.
A typical day at the camp starts at 7 am. Detainees are forced to study Mandarin in groups of 50 to 60 people. They are forced to sing songs in praise of the Communist Party before they start eating. The lack of hygiene at the camps is indicated by the fact that two detainees are forced to share the same eating bowl.
Senewer (pseudonym) recently visited her father at the camp. He was taken away for sending an Islam-related message. She revealed that the visit was eye-opening, and said, “I saw that there were university students locked up too, and even 15 or 16-year-old students. Also, there are surveillance cameras everywhere. And when I saw that there were so many Uyghur people arrested, I felt especially afraid.”
In addition to constant surveillance, authorities take several measures to prevent people from running away or committing suicide. For one, baton-wielding constables guard every corner of the building. Armed police have bayonets without sheaths outfitted on them while they patrol the building, and have full authority to use them if anyone rebels.
The entrance and exit doors of classes have been chained in such a way that one needs to squeeze his or her body to pass through. This is done to prevent people from running away.
Every night, the personnel also search through the living quarters for screws, iron nails, or anything like it, in case they might be used to commit suicide. As per sources, it is quite common for detainees inside to try and hang themselves or jump against the wall.
Reported by Li Zaili
Li Zaili (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), born in Xinjiang in 1982, went to the United States to study at the age of 16. After graduating from university, Li returned to Xinjiang and worked in journalism. In 2014, Xinjiang authorities started detaining large numbers of Muslims in “transformation through education camps.” Learning of that, he left his original position and began independently collecting and organizing information related to “transformation through education camps,” and submitted articles for publication in overseas media outlets. After Bitter Winter was founded in May 2018, Li Zaili became a special correspondent of Bitter Winter covering Xinjiang, Xizang and some other regions in China.