Reeducating’ Xinjiang’s Muslims. James Millward. The New York Review of Books.
People outside Xinjiang ﬁrst began to learn about the camps in 2017. Uighurs abroad grew alarmed as friends and relatives at home dropped out of touch, ﬁrst deleting phone and social media contacts and then disappearing entirely. Uighur students who returned or were forced back to China after studying in foreign countries likewise vanished upon arriving. When they can get any information at all, Uighurs outside China have learned that police took their relatives and friends to the reeducation camps: “gone to study” is the careful euphemism used on the closely surveilled Chinese messaging app WeChat. (...) Our best sense of what is happening inside the camps comes from former prisoners, one writing anonymously in Foreign Policy, and others interviewed in Kazakhstan by Shih and Emily Rauhala for The Washington Post: detainees must sing anthems of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), disavow Islam, criticize themselves and their family’s beliefs, watch propaganda ﬁlms, and study Chinese language and history. They are told that their culture is “backward.” Some must memorize the moralizing Three-Character classic (San Zijing), a classical Chinese children’s primer in trisyllabic verse, abandoned as a pedagogical text elsewhere in China for over a century. (…)