B1 Intermediate US 13 Folder Collection
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In a far corner of northwestern China,
a car drives along a wall lined with barbed wire,
heading towards what looks like a
standard apartment complex.
Access here is restricted, and the cameraperson
is filming secretly …
… because this is no ordinary residence.
It's part of a contentious labor resettlement program
run by the Chinese government
to extend state control over Muslim minorities, mostly
Uighurs, by moving them from one part of China
to work in another.
This covert, low-quality footage
that we've adjusted to reveal some details,
and obscure others, gives us some rare insights
into how people in this program
live and are indoctrinated.
Over the last few years, the mass incarceration
of more than a million Uighurs and Kazakhs
by the Chinese government has led to international outrage.
These labor programs are part of that larger story.
Let's take a closer look at the compound we showed you
at the beginning.
It's in Xinjiang, in the northern city of Kuitun,
where the population is mostly China's Han ethnic majority.
But the workers in the compound
are Uighurs, and other minorities
transferred there from their homes
in Hotan and Kashgar, hundreds of miles away.
At the Kuitun complex there are multiple dormitories.
We see that right around the time the transfer started
in 2017, a security checkpoint and another building,
a cafeteria, were built at the site.
The cameraperson is now shooting inside
of the cafeteria.
We can see the compound's residents.
They all work as street cleaners.
A sign describing the program calls them Kashgar
and Hotan surplus labor.
It also lists instructions for how they
should conduct themselves.
And another poster offers guidelines
on how to interact with the local population.
This program and others like it
have led to the relocation of hundreds of thousands
of Uighurs away from their homes and families.
But government propaganda openly
promotes these as poverty alleviation initiatives.
What's at stake here is about more than just
putting people into labor programs.
The bigger goal is to turn Uighurs
and other ethnic minorities away from their own heritage,
to be more in line with the rest of Communist China.
Back at the compound, the rules
strictly limit when and where the workers can go.
We hear about this as a cameraperson meets residents
in the sleeping quarters.
This man was pressured to come here a year earlier,
leaving his family, a wife and young child, behind.
His life here includes mandatory Mandarin classes
in the evenings.
And despite the government's claim
that they are lifting these workers out of poverty,
he says he's only making a third of what
he did back home.
Yarkand County is the home he left behind.
For Uighurs in towns like these,
the future is becoming increasingly uncertain
because the decision, whether to stay or go,
is often no longer in their hands.
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A Secret Look Inside a Chinese Labor Program for Uighurs | Visual Investigations

13 Folder Collection
Helena published on January 2, 2020
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