Law brings back re-education camps
by Wang Zhicheng

People can now be ideologically “re-educated” against "religious extremism" through psychological pressure and torture. At least one million Uyghurs are held in "vocational training centres".

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The Xinjiang Autonomous Region has revised its legislation to allow local authorities to "educate and transform" people influenced by terrorism at "vocational training centres", a euphemism for forced re-education camps.

The revised law, which took effect yesterday, comes amid a rising international outcry. China has long been accused of detaining at least a million ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslims in secret camps where they are subjected to psychological pressure and torture.

Under the regional law, such centres are tasked with the elimination of "religious extremism". The latter will teach how to read and write Chinese, offer civic education courses and impart "ideological" instruction.

Methods included psychological treatments and behavioural correction "to help trainees to transform their thoughts and return to society and their families".

In 2017 China launched a “scorched earth” policy to crush Uyghur demands for autonomy. In order to stop radical influences coming from Afghanistan and Pakistan, Beijing has imposed tight controls on mosques, young people and communal religious life.