In northwestern China, the government keeps about a million people in “forced ideological and behavioral re-education centers.” Most are Uighur Muslims.

Inside these camps, officials score prisoners on their ability to speak Mandarin. They are surrounded by armed guards and forced to do manual labor. Detainees also are not allowed to leave.

Government officials call these camps “voluntary job training facilities.” But leaked documents from Chinese government officials show the camps were always meant to be part of a crackdown on Muslim ethnic groups, and were designed specifically for mass internment.

Outrage has grown around the world. During Thursday’s debate between the Democratic presidential candidates, moderators asked how the contenders would deal with these human rights abuses. Broadcasts of this part of the debate were unavailable in China.

Who can help those who are imprisoned? Now that the violations have been revealed, will there be consequences for China — or will the world continue to look the other way?

Produced by Kathryn Fink.


Austin Ramzy, Hong Kong correspondent, The New York Times; @austinramzy

Salih Hudayar, Ambassador to the U.S., East Turkistan Government-in-Exile; founder, East Turkistan National Awakening Movement; @Salih_Hudayar

Louisa Greve, Director of global advocacy, Uyghur Human Rights Project; @LouisaCGreve

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© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2019 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.

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