China on defensive over camps where ex-prisoners have told of arbitrary detention, abuse and indoctrination
A senior official in Xinjiang has described mass internment camps for Muslim minorities as “training” and “boarding schools” where residents receive vocational, legal, and language training as well as “de-extremisation education”.
Beijing has faced growing international criticism for its crackdown in Xinjiang, a far north-western territory of China where it holds as many as a million Muslims prisoner in camps. Former detainees have said that they were subjected to political indoctrination and abuse.
In a rare, detailed interview published by the state-run news agency Xinhua, the Xinjiang governor, Shohrat Zakir, said: “Xinjiang conducts vocational skills education and training according to law. The purpose is to fundamentally eliminate the environment and soil that breeds terrorism and religious extremism, and eliminate the terrorism activities before they take place.”