Chinese labour schemes are aimed at cutting Uighur population density, report says

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Published: Mar 03, 2021, 07.57 PM(IST)

Security guards stand at the gates of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Huocheng County in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 3, 2018. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Experts say this latest report adds to the growing body of evidence of Beijing’s concerted efforts to persecute Uighurs, labelled cultural genocide by a few rights activists.

Chinese labour programmes in Xinjiang are mostly designed to reduce the population density of the Uighur ethnic minority group, a study has said.

The Chinese report, accidentally published online by academics of Nankai University, was taken down in mid-2020, but a copy was archived by the academic Dr Adrian Zenz. 

Experts say this latest report adds to the growing body of evidence of Beijing’s concerted efforts to persecute Uighurs, labelled cultural genocide by a few rights activists.

The Chinese government denies accusations of forced labour and labour transfers in Xinjiang, saying work programmes are a voluntary element of its poverty alleviation goals.

The report recommended the government expand the programmes to eastern and central regions of China to meet labour demands. It also emphasised that programmes were “voluntary” but also provided contradictory details, such as worker export targets and the need for security guards in the labour sourcing teams.

It also appeared to suggest the authorities have gone too far in their crackdown, and that the demonisation of Uighurs had resulted in some local and provincial authorities refusing to accept workers from Xinjiang on “security grounds”. This situation was a “serious obstacle” to the country’s goals, it said.

Traditionally, Uighurs who had “participated in riots” were a minority, and all were admitted to education and training centres.

These centres are somewhat termed as 'detention camps' by Chinese authorities.

A review of the Nankai report and other supporting materials by Zenz included legal analysis by the former senior advisor to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Erin Farrell Rosenberg. He had found “credible grounds to conclude” that Xinjiang’s labour transfer programme met the criteria of two crimes against humanity.

In a statement to the BBC, the Chinese government, on its part, said the report “reflects only the author’s personal view and much of its contents are not in line with the facts”.

China said on Tuesday it was discussing a visit to its Xinjiang region by the United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, but that she should not set out with the aim of condemning its policies.

(with inputs)

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