The UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, failed to adequately address terrible abuses in the region
“Not only vindicated, but justified,” a Chinese diplomat crowed on Twitter. His remark came only days after an international media consortium revealed new details of the terrible abuses taking place in Xinjiang. Internal Chinese documents – reportedly obtained by a hacker and passed on to the BBC and others – put a human face on some of the perhaps 1 million mostly Uyghur Muslim detainees who have been held in re-education camps without charge or trial, with police photographs of inmates as young as 15.
The Xinjiang police files also revealed the existence of a shoot-to-kill policy for anyone attempting to flee these centres, and people being jailed for up to 10 years because their phone has run out of credit – apparently regarded as an attempt to avoid digital surveillance. In one county, around one in eight adults were detained in 2017-18. Previously documented abuses include forced sterilisations, children being sent to state boarding schools because their parents are detained, and people being held because they have relatives overseas.