A new report conducted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has claimed that there are over a hundred more Uighur detention camps throughout China than previously believed. The findings come as the Middle Kingdom has continued to fight against international criticism by insisting that the nation is scaling back on its "re-education" policies of the Muslim minority population.
Yet in contrast to such statements, the ASPI reported that there are a suspected 380 facilities in the Xinjiang region. This is around 40 percent higher than previous estimates.
"The findings of this research contradict Chinese officials' claims that all 'trainees' from so-called vocational training centers had 'graduated' by late 2019," noted the study's author, Nathan Ruser, to the BBC.
Many have been recently created, with around 60 of facilities built between July 2019 and July 2020. Another 14 remain under construction at present. The ASPI mainly relied on satellite imagery to come to its conclusions.
In addition, Ruser claimed that many of the new detention areas appeared to have higher security than previous types -- suggesting that the communist government has implemented a shift toward prison-style centers. Such facilities include high perimeter walls, barbed wire fencing, and watchtowers. The authors added that they believed these centers would often house prisoners who were subjected to forced labor.
"Available evidence suggests that many extrajudicial detainees in Xinjiang's vast 're-education' network are now being formally charged and locked up in higher security facilities, including newly built or expanded prisons, or sent to walled factory compounds for coerced labor assignments," the paper claimed.
The information collected by the ASPI classified the camps into four distinct tiers. The lowest tier included schools that had been converted into re-education facilities by adding fencing and other security measures. These low-security types of facilities are reportedly those shown by the Chinese government to outside diplomats and NGOs.
The two worst tiers were designated as Tier 3 and 4. Tier 3 camps "have up to six layers of barbed wire fencing and perimeter walls." Meanwhile, Tier 4 facilities also function as prisons for the rest of the Chinese population, meaning that the Uighur Muslims who are imprisoned in such facilities are apparently shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the country's most hardened and dangerous criminals.
China has denounced accusations that it is mistreating any citizens, and the government has responded that the programs are designed to help Uighur Muslims be trained for better job opportunities.
This is not the first time the Middle Kingdom has been accused of human rights violations this week. As previously covered by The Inquisitr, new reports have stated that the communist nation has instituted a new scheme to dislocate rural Tibetan farmers to factory work.