China’s Uighurs reportedly released after ‘graduating vocational training’

This appeared in The Millennial Source

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On Monday, December 9, Chinese government chairman of the country’s western Xinjiang region, Shohrat Zakir, claimed that all detainees in this region have been released after “graduating reeducation.” Zakir, told reporters at a press conference that the detainees who were held in the “vocation training centers” for Muslim citizens have completed their course. “With the help of the government, they have realized stable employment and they have improved their quality of life,” said Zakir, who is of Uighur descent.

Zakir added that in future, the training at the vocation training centers would be based on “independent will” and people would have “the freedom to come and go” according to a statement given to Reuters. The chairman did not provide a figure detailing the number of detainees who have been released.

Previous figures of detainees

In November this year, a Washington-based group called the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM) stated it had assessed images from Google Earth and found 182 suspected “concentration camps” that it listed by coordinates. According to nonprofit Radio Free Asia (RFA), there are 1,300–1,400 internment camps which are believed to have held 1.8 million Uighurs and ethnic Kazakhs since April 2017. In May, an estimate by a top Pentagon official for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, Randall Schriver, claimed that the figure was close to three million citizens — in a region of 10 million people.

A warning by the US

The bill would be the toughest international warning sent by the United States in its attempt to pressure China to release the detained Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. According to the bill, those detained in facilities have recounted forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings and food deprivation.

Who was Waris Ababekri?

“He was expelled from Xinjiang University and was an ex-convict, plus he published articles in magazines that touched on sensitive topics,” says a staff member of China’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission in Urumqi. He also claims that Ababekri’s death was not caused by torture but due to a heart attack.

However, according to RFA, Ababekri’s friends have claimed he was in perfect health before being detained. The press agency has reportedly confirmed dozens of cases of deaths in detention or shortly after release since the internment system began. However, it has also added that only a handful of these cases can be directly linked to torture undergone in the internment camps.

The United States has called on China to eradicate the “reeducation” camps, lift all restrictions on human rights, and allow those in China to reestablish connections with their loved ones and associates outside of the country.

Originally published at on December 14, 2019.

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