Translations of additional Chinese sources

Introduction

TL;DR: this page contains translations of papers, social media posts, etc. written by Chinese civilians, media, or security officers about Xinjiang, many of whom are dispatched there to assist with the implementation of government policy. Scroll past intro for actual list of translations.

Thus far, we have covered satellite imagery, leaked documents, ex-detainee testimony, and outsiders' accounts of Xinjiang. The totality of the evidence suggests there is large-scale mass incarceration occurring in the region, aimed primarily at Uyghurs. The campaign involves quite literally hundreds of thousands of people to implement, as the Party directs cadres, teachers, and security officers, and others to Xinjiang to assist. This is not a completely new phenomenon; a 2017 webpage from the Xinjiang government claimed over 200,000 cadres had been dispatched between 2014 and then as part of these programs, and by 2019, state media gave a figure of 350,000.

Much of this falls under the umbrella of fanghuiju work, which forms a core feature of village-level work in Xinjiang. Per the Xinjiang Documentation Project: "Fanghuiju is the short term for the three phrases 访民情, 惠民生, and 聚民心 (literally 'Visit the People, Benefit the People, and Get Together the Hearts of the People'). The implementation of this campaign involves rotating hundreds of thousands of Party members into rural villages, beginning circa 2014 and intensifying from 2017. While this campaign ostensibly mirrors the mass line of the Mao era, these visits are primarily for surveillance and to monitor potential religious or 'extremist' behaviors in the domestic realm."

Note that the 350,000 figure does not include what at least one government source states to be one million household visits, where loyal, mostly Han citizens are assigned to live with Uyghur families for a short period of time and monitor their political, economic, and religious conditions. You can read more about the process in this article by Dr. Darren Byler, who spent years in Xinjiang for his doctoral research and interviewed many of these cadres himself in 2018.

Unsurprisingly, people post about these experiences online. If you follow professor Timothy Grose on Twitter, you'll see these type of social media posts by cadres and others in Xinjiang are not rare. (All of the following were discovered by him unless otherwise noted.) He has been collecting such posts for over two years, and the collection, published in February 2021 via the University of British Columbia's Xinjiang Documentation Project, can be viewed here. Others have used Chinese social media as part of investigations into Xinjiang as well, such as Le Monde in its mini-documentary released in January 2021.

Taken as a whole, these posts inadvertently confirm much of what has already been established about the camps, despite vigorous denials by the Chinese government and denialists in the west. Namely, we can confirm that:

  1. Xinjiang has seen a major spike in arrests and incarceration since the 2017 campaign began;
  2. the state broadly takes aim at religious activity, not just supposed extremism; and,
  3. reeducation and mass incarceration have profoundly affected Uyghur communities and families.

This represents another avenue of evidence demonstrating that the Chinese government's portrayal of the camps as completely benign educational facilities is a deliberate falsehood.

Translations

Police officer accounts from 2017

The following three posts are from public security officers who were sent to Xinjiang from elsewhere in China in 2017. As they note, the campaign, which began circa February/March of that year, saw huge spikes in arrests and detentions, both for reeducation and formal prison sentencing. This in turn placed a huge strain on existing security forces, which required the government to bring in outside officers for three-month rotations to detention centers (where arrested people are taken prior to being sent either to a reeducation camp or formal prison).

Policeman Li Chuanwei dispatched to Chira County
Policeman Li Laihui dispatched to Chira County
Policeman Weng Honghua dispatched to Maralbeshi County

As noted above, the University of British Columbia maintains an archive of the documents collected by Professor Grose. Other (untranslated) examples of police memoirs and similar posts about Xinjiang include document nos. 62, 87, 90, 105, 156, 196, 198, 200, 217, and 218.

Overall, these accounts align with what activist groups and researchers (including Zenz & Leibold) have noted based on data published by the Chinese government: that there has been a massive spike in incarceration and police recruitment as a result of the Strike Hard campaign beginning in 2017.

Suppression of religious freedom

Despite the nominal guarantee of the PRC constitution, religious freedom is not granted to Muslims in Xinjiang, particularly since 2017; the government's definition of "extremist" religious practices is so broad as to encompass a whole range of otherwise normal behavior.

Illegal pots, carpets, bowls, and other "extremist" items
Court document: Two years in prison for a prayer group

Disappearances of parents and neighbors and disruption of private life

Below are a wide range of posts that give specific figures on people in certain localities detained. Some are Party cadres doing poverty alleviation work in certain villages, others are teachers noting the conditions of students' detained parents. They all are evidence that claim that the campaign "only" targets a select few extremists is false.

Concrete detention numbers from a village work cadre
A (probable) village work report
Qarasaz: 1/3 of elementary students missing a parent
"Asya's Fairytale Castle"
Work team stationed in Dunbage

"Asya's Fairytale Castle" is notable in particular because it documents the existence of a boarding preschool specifically for people whose two parents have been detained (in other words, it's an orphanage). Document 154 is another post that discusses 38 similar students in Guma County, Hotan Prefecture.