Explained: What ‘leaked’ documents say about China’s Uighur detention camps

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News:According to leaked Chinese government documents,there was a clampdown on Uighurs and other Muslims in the country’s western Xinjiang region.

Facts:

Who are the Uighurs?

  • The Uighurs are mostly Muslims and number about 11 million in western China’s Xinjiang region.
  • They see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations, and their language is similar to Turkish.
  • But in recent decades,there has been a mass migration of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) to Xinjiang and the Uighurs feel their culture and livelihoods are under threat.

Where is Xinjiang?

  • Xinjiang is located in the far west of China and is the country’s biggest region.It is bordered by several countries including India, Afghanistan and Mongolia. 
  • Like Tibet, it’s an autonomous region, meaning it has a degree of self-governance away from Beijing.But in practice,both face major restrictions by the Central government.
  • Xinjiang has long had a rebellious and autonomous streak with the indigenous ethnic Uighurs clashing with the authorities. 

What’s happening to people in Xinjiang?

  • According to the United Nations experts and activists,at least 1 million Uighurs and members of other largely Muslim minority groups have been detained in camps in Xinjiang in a crackdown.
  • However,the China denies the allegations that there are internment camps.It says people in Xinjiang are receiving vocational training.