China’s Latest Attempt to Spin Its Repressive Policies in Xinjiang Falls Flat

China’s Latest Attempt to Spin Its Repressive Policies in Xinjiang Falls Flat
Shohrat Zakir, chairman of China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, speaks during a press conference at the State Council Information Office in Beijing, July 30, 2019 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.

On Tuesday, Chinese officials abruptly announced that most of the Uighur Muslims held in detention camps in the country’s western Xinjiang region had been released. The claim—which was not supported by any evidence and almost immediately challenged by inmates’ relatives, foreign governments and human rights groups—marks another step in China’s efforts to deflect international criticism of its repressive policies in Xinjiang, where at least 1 million Uighurs are believed to be incarcerated.

Describing the detention facilities as “education and training” centers and the inmates as “students,” Alken Tuniaz, the vice chairman of the Xinjiang government, told reporters that over 90 percent of detainees had “returned to society and returned to their families and are living happily.” Shohrat Zakir, the Xinjiang government chairman, added that “more than 90 percent of the graduates have found satisfactory jobs with good incomes,” according to the Associated Press.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.