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China’s Ongoing Anti-Uyghur Campaign

James Milward writing in the current issue of Foreign Affairs says that although Chinese authorities, responding to international criticism, moved many of the Uyghur internees out of the camps by 2019, “the change was largely cosmetic, and most of the internees have not been freed. Many of the camps have simply been converted into formal prisons and detainees given lengthy prison sentences, like several hundred thousand other non-Han people who have been imprisoned since the start of the crisis. Over 100,000 other internees have been transferred from camps to factories in Xinjiang or elsewhere in the country. Some Uyghur families abroad report that their relatives are back home but under house arrest. And Beijing has also been forcing tens of thousands of rural Uyghurs out of their villages and into factories under the guise of a poverty alleviation campaign. Today, the total numbers of non-Han Chinese people in coerced labor of one form or another may well exceed the numbers interned in camps from 2017 to 2019”

The article states that the Chinese government “continues to incentivize, and likely coerce, Uyghur women to marry Han men while promulgating propaganda promoting mixed marriages. (Uyghurs very rarely married non-Uyghurs before the current crisis.) Uyghur children are being institutionalized in boarding schools, where they are forced to use the Chinese language and adopt Han cultural practices.”

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