Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.
A recent report in The New York Times provides an unprecedented behind-the-curtain look at the mass detention of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang autonomous region of western China. Based on 403 pages of internal government documents that the paper obtained from a source described as “a member of the Chinese political establishment,” the report reveals the origins and implementation of China’s brutally repressive policies in Xinjiang.
Human rights groups and foreign reporters have already exposed many of China’s abuses in Xinjiang, including the internment of at least 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. But the leaked documents further undermine the government’s disingenuous claims that the detention camps are actually “vocational training centers” that are meant to help assimilate Uighurs into Chinese society. And perhaps most significantly, they reveal some internal dissent within the Chinese Communist Party over the crackdown.