China has built nearly 380 detention centres in Xinjiang region as per the research of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) on Thursday. The study identifies these structures built over the course of two years starting from 2017.
The Australian think tank’s collected data represents networks of camps in China’s far west areas which is suspected to detain Uighurs and other muslim minorities. Satellite images collated by ASPI include 61 such campsare newly built whereas 14 others are still under construction, apart from the ones already established.Estimates from the study amount to a 40 percent increase in such structures than earlier researches.” The evidence in the database shows that despite Chinese officials’ claim about detainees graduating from the camps, significant investment in the construction of new detention facilities has continued throughout 2019 to 2020 “, said Nathan Ruser, ASPI researcher.
Further, the data for the study was collected through satellite imagery, witness accounts, media reports and official construction documents for classifying these establishments as per their security features, viz., high perimeter walls, watchtowers and internal fencing. Ruser emphasised that many centres are expanding with high-security facilities while others are being located close to industrial parks which are suggestive of detainees deploying for forced labour activities.
Information from the research has been made public via an online accessible database, called Xinjiang Data Project. However, Beijing has been insisting that no human rights violations have occurred and has recently published a white paper defending its policies in the region as a cause for training initiatives, work schemes and improving education.