New facts have emerged in the form of a YouTube video about detention centers set up for the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. Experts have called the video a new evidence of a crackdown on the Uyghur minority.
Following the release of the video, several experts have said that reports of crackdowns on the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang have never been baseless. Moreover, while the footage is a new proof of crackdown on Uyghurs by the Chinese authorities, the security of the Chinese video blogger who released the footage is now in jeopardy.
The YouTube video is about 20 minutes long and identifies more than a dozen state concentration camps in the Uyghur Autonomous Region in Xinjiang.
Who made the video?
This YouTube video was made by a Chinese journalist named Guan Guan. He had read many reports on the online American news portal BuzzFeed News about the detention centers set up for the Uyghur population in this Chinese province. Guan Guan then traveled to Xinjiang and made the video, which was later released on YouTube last month.
British architect Alison Killing, who maps such camps in Xinjiang with the help of satellite images for BuzzFeed News, says that the footage confirms the facts. The Uyghurs, on the other hand, reflect abuses against the Muslim minority.
According to Alison Killing, “When you try to get to the bottom of the facts with the help of satellite imagery, you also rely on information from other sources.” Furthermore, while talking to DW, Killing said: “Guan Guan’s video has been very helpful in confirming that there are several such detention centers, like prisons, for the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.”
Rayhan Asat is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Litigation Project in the United States (US) who herself belongs to the Uyghur ethnic minority and is a lawyer in addition to being a human rights activist.
While talking to DW, Asat said: “This new video is part of a process to document the crackdown in Xinjiang. Importantly, the video also refutes the Chinese state’s propaganda that the Uyghurs are simply too happy.”
Rayhan Asat hopes that many more people in China, like Guan Guan, who made the video, will raise their voices on the issue, condemning the atrocities against Uyghurs.
In this video, Guan Guan himself is seen saying that he visited Xinjiang on a bicycle in 2019 and made videos of several concentration camps. During his stay in Xinjiang, Guan Guan recorded information about 18 detention centers in eight different cities in the Chinese province.
The Chinese citizen journalist released the video on YouTube on October 5, 2021. If the details of their tweets are taken into account, it also appears that they may have visited Xinjiang in 2020 and produced more footage of these camps there.
Probably the largest concentration camp in China
A correspondent for the US news agency Associated Press (AP) also visited Xinjiang in July this year, during which some details of a detention center in Ürümqi came to light. Also mentioned was a camp in Dabancheng, Xinjiang, which was declared the largest concentration complex in China and probably in the world. The complex could accommodate up to 10,000 people and was spread over an area of more than 220 acres.
In this video released on YouTube, it can be seen that Guan Guan did not refrain from showing his face in it which can be dangerous for his own life, which many human rights groups have expressed concern about. Guan Guan posted another video on his YouTube channel on Friday, November 19, 2021, in which he said, “I do not have the strength to challenge the Chinese government directly, but I’m doing everything I can.”
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