Which ethnic group is the most oppressed?

How China is suppressing minorities

China continues: The reports about the internment camps in the troubled region of Xinjiang are at home in the area of ​​fake news - contrary to frequent indications to the contrary. “I know these are prison camps. Why don't you tell me the truth about the camps? ”Urged BBC journalist Richard Bilton at a press conference by China's ambassador to Great Britain earlier this week in London. Even after the “China Cables” leak, Liu Xiaoming remains with it: These are “professional education and training centers”. The journalist tries again: "What you tell me has nothing to do with what I saw."

Liu then calls the documents "pure invention", "fake news", which show that hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs are interned in camps. A BBC journalist published a video back in June after he was allowed to visit one of the “training centers” in the troubled province in the north-west of the country. Dancing "students" can be seen on it, reciting the poems in Chinese and saying to the camera: "I was influenced by extremism and terrorism."

The journalist wants to know from a "teacher" whether this is more of a prison here. “Are there prisons where you can paint? Our place is a training center. ”By learning Mandarin and the laws, one could“ graduate, ”he explains. Various representatives of the Chinese government emphasize again and again that the centers are there to retrain the people “influenced by terrorism and extremism”.

Attacks by Uyghurs

Indeed, Uyghurs repeatedly carried out bloody attacks in China, and in 2009 there was a large wave of protests in Xinjiang. The harshness with which the entire region and its population are now being controlled is indignant to many. The camps are obviously the toughest measure of a number of methods with this purpose: Uyghurs would not get passports - or they would be confiscated from them. Hundreds of new police stations have been built in the region in recent years. There are also reports that Uyghur teachers have been under pressure to teach in Mandarin for about three years. If you do not learn the new language quickly enough, you will not pass the subsequent language test and accordingly will not be able to continue doing your job. This measure primarily affects the better educated classes in the region.

Intellectuals in particular have been persecuted in Xinjiang in recent months, the region's expert Adrian Zenz explained to STANDARD in July: “The internments began in 2017, and the camps were expanded in 2018 so that new sections of the population, especially intellectuals, were interned were. "

Practice in Tibet too

Many things are things that have been practiced for decades - with varying degrees of intensity - in another part of the People's Republic: in Tibet. The region has moved into the background in the past few years. But what is happening now in Xinjiang has its forerunners in Tibet. There the protests of 2008 marked a turning point in the way the authorities dealt with the province.

Especially when the hardliner Chen Quanguo became party secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in 2011, he quickly implemented radical steps. Hardly any Tibetans have a passport today, police stations can be found on every corner, especially in urban areas - in Xinjiang there were said to have been 7,500 in 2016. And from Tibet, too, there are repeated reports of retraining measures. These are not necessarily entire camps. For example, hotels are being remodeled into such “centers” for a certain period of time.

Chen has been party secretary in Xinjiang since 2016, and together with his deputy Zhu Hailun he is implementing what he has prepared in Tibet - on a larger scale and with modern means: the state there works with facial recognition software and DNA samples. In the media, Xinjiang has been referred to as an "open air prison" and an "experimental laboratory".

Since the "China Cables", calls to politics and business for consequences have been louder. In the Süddeutsche ZeitungFor example, Xinjiang expert Ross Anthony calls on the Volkswagen Group to close its manufacturing plant there. In the meantime, politicians around the world are demanding unhindered access for UN representatives to Xinjiang. (Anna Sawerthal, November 27, 2019)