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China: Officials hint Xinjiang detention camps to be phased out; But relatives concerned detainees are being released into forced labour

Author: Lily Kuo, Guardian, Published on: 13 March 2019

"Xinjiang detention camps may be phased out, governor suggests", 13 March 2019

Top officials in Xinjiang have hinted that the system of internment centres used to hold a million Muslim minorities may one day be phased out.

Researchers say huge numbers of people, mostly Uighurs, are being held in detention and re-education camps in the far western territory as part of a huge security crackdown in the name of counter terrorism efforts...

“In general there will be fewer and fewer students in the centres. If one day our society doesn’t need them, the education and training centres will disappear,” said Shohrat Zakir the governor of the region and its most senior Uighur official. Zakir’s comments come after months of mounting international criticism...

Detainees are slowly being released from the camps, but remain under house arrest, according to some reports based on accounts from relatives. Other reports say the camps are feeding into a forced labor system where detainees are released but ordered to work in textile factories...

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