The Xinjiang Police Files

Re-Education Camp Security and Political Paranoia in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Authors

  • Adrian Zenz Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25365/jeacs.2022.3.zenz

Keywords:

Xinjiang, re-education, police, securitisation, Chen Quanguo

Abstract

From 2017, the Chinese state detained Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in so-called Vocational Skills Education and Training Centres (VSECs). Previously, witnesses and leaked state documents outlined the securitised nature of these re-education facilities. Now, the “Xinjiang Police Files,” a major cache of classified files obtained by a third party from internal XUAR police networks, provides an unprecedented inside view. Detailed re-education camp security instructions describe special police units carrying military assault weapons and show guards handcuffing detainees. The files include thousands of images of detained Uyghurs and show that in 2017/18, over 12 percent of Uyghur adults were detained. Candid internal speeches show leading officials’ impassioned demands to treat persons from ethnic groups like dangerous criminals, and to readily open fire to stop escapees and to safeguard the camps. This article authenticates and contextualises the Xinjiang Police Files within the growing field of published internal XUAR government documents. Scholars have argued that political paranoia is a common feature of atrocity crimes. Here, it is suggested that the pre-emptive internment of large numbers of ordinary citizens can be explained as a devolution into political paranoia that promotes exaggerated threat perceptions.

從2017年起,中國政府將新疆的維吾爾等少數民族居民關押在自治區所謂的職業技能教育培訓中心(VSECs)。之前的證人證詞和流出的政府文件已勾畫出政治再教育營中警力管理的輪廓。本文選用最新的“新疆公安文件”,即一大批由第三方從新疆公安內部網絡截獲的機密文件,將之與不斷流出的新疆政府內部文件相互印證、比對結合,從前所未有的內部視角展示2017/18年度超過12%的維吾爾成年人在關押期間的實際境遇:被視為危險罪犯,戴上手銬,若試圖逃跑手持軍用攻擊型武器的特警會隨時開火。有學者認為,政治偏執妄想症是暴行暴政的共同特徵。本研究旨在探討大範圍先發制人式關押普通公民的心理側寫和社會效應,闡述施政者向政治偏執妄想症的退變以及對維吾爾等少數民族威脅性的誇大。

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2022-05-24

How to Cite

Zenz, A. (2022). The Xinjiang Police Files: Re-Education Camp Security and Political Paranoia in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies, 3, 1–56. https://doi.org/10.25365/jeacs.2022.3.zenz

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Research Articles