The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published five leaked Chinese intelligence memos — a lengthy "telegram" and four shorter "bulletins" — from 2017, which detail the plans to enact a program of mass incarceration for members of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities (especially Uyghurs) in China's Xinjiang province.
The documents present guidelines for the creation and operation of the region's concentration camps (which now number more than 500 and house more than a million detainees) under the guise of "vocational training centers."
In addition to setting out a number of logistical and planning guidelines — such as sanitation and public health measures — the documents detail a system of points-based "behavior modification" tools to punish and reward prisoners who modify their conduct to the specifications of the Chinese state. This points-based system runs in parallel to the "predictive policing" tools that the Chinese state uses to identify and target people for rendering to its camps.
The documents represent an second leak of internal, high-level Chinese intelligence memos, and they also reveal the gap between the directions handed down from Beijing and the actual conduct of officials overseeing the camps: many of the memos' directives (including those on sanitation and public health — but also on the minimum incarceration period of one year) have been ignored within the camps, according to eyewitness reports.
Last week, the New York Times reported on another set of high-level Chinese leaks about Xinjiang that revealed President Xi's role in enacting a program of "no mercy" for ethnic minorities in the region, and the cruel governorship of Chen Quanguo, who was transferred from Tibet to Xinjiang to oversee the concentration camps.
Also revealed in the documents is how the "vocational training" story has become a cover for forced labor.
The documents reveal a chilling pattern of targeting Uyghurs living abroad, both by seeking their extradition to China for incarceration and torture, and by Chinese consular staff targeting expatriate Uyghurs when they came to their embassies seeking consular services.
Chinese officials say the documents are forgeries and called them "fake news."
The style combines standard Chinese bureaucratese with Orwellian doublespeak, blandly prescribing the secure management of toilet breaks and setting conditions for seeing loved ones while referring to inmates as "students" and listing the requirements to "graduate."
The manual emphasizes that personnel must "prevent escapes" and mandates the use of guard posts, patrols, video surveillance, alarms and other security measures typical of prisons. Dormitory doors must be double-locked to "strictly manage and control student activities to prevent escapes during class, eating periods, toilet breaks, bath time, medical treatment, family visits, etc.," the manual says.
"Students" are permitted to leave the camps only for reasons of "illness and other special circumstances," it says, and camp personnel are required to "accompany, monitor, and control them" while away.
The memo also includes the provision – not always enforced, according to some former inmates – that detainees must remain in the camps for at least a year.
The manual reveals a points-based behavior-control system within the camps. Points are tabulated by assessing the inmates' "ideological transformation, study and training, and compliance with discipline," the manual says. The punishment-and-reward system helps determine, among other things, whether inmates are allowed contact with family and when they are released.
Exposed: China's Operating Manuals for Mass Internment and Arrest by Algorithm [Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian/
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists]
(via Beyond the Beyond)