Xinjiang and talk of ‘concentration camps’

Domestic News

The Central Asia Program at George Washington University is organizing an event called Symposium on China’s Mass Incarceration of Uyghurs on November 27. Speakers include leading scholars of Xinjiang and Uyghur culture.  

Since we published our compendium of information on the internment camps for Uyghurs and Kazakhs, awareness of the issue has grown way beyond the China-watching world. Megha Rajagopalan, the BuzzFeed journalist who was among the earliest to write about the camps, tweeted a thread, from which this is an excerpt:

This Saturday I was fortunate to attend the Stockholm China Forum, a gathering of American, European and Chinese foreign policy professionals from government, think tanks, universities & the private sector. Going to tweet a few takeaways on the Xinjiang issue in particular.

As context — this event touched on a broad range of issues ranging from trade to diplomacy to national security. But the Xinjiang issue came up in different contexts in discussions about China’s role in the world…

…The Xinjiang issue is “penetrating” in U.S. / European policy circles, lawmakers who were once favorable toward China are now using terms like “concentration camps.” If the issue penetrates within the Muslim world, China may have a real problem. As one person put it, “this sea change is astonishing.” It’s unclear whether the Chinese government grasps this impact.