FRANCES MARTEL25 May 2022
A massive trove of Chinese Communist Party internal documents, including photos of thousands of concentration camp victims, from the Uyghur heartland of East Turkistan, published on Tuesday, revealed that officials in charge of the Uyghur genocide regularly cited dictator Xi Jinping as personally ordering genocidal policies.
In one document, a 2018 speech, China’s Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi applauded Party officials and police in East Turkistan for working to “break the lineages, break the roots, break the connections, break the origins” of the region’s people, claiming it necessary to end terrorism.
The “Xinjiang Police Files,” published by researcher Adrian Zenz and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, including speeches by high-ranking Party officials, PowerPoint presentations used to train Chinese police in working in East Turkistan, thousands of photos and profiles of concentration camp victims in East Turkistan, and instructional documents teaching concentration camp guards how to handle prisoners. Zenz verified the documents through coordination with academics and experts on East Turkistan – the region China calls the “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region” – in a peer-reviewed journal article published by the Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies.
This photo, taken on May 31, 2019, shows the outer wall of a complex which includes what is believed to be a concentration camp where mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic minorities are detained, on the outskirts of Hotan, in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. (GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)
Zenz wrote in the article that he “unexpectedly” received the thousands of files from an unnamed “third party.” The individual, requesting anonymity for his or her safety, reportedly acquired the documents “through hacking into computer systems operated by the Public Security Bureau (PSB) of the counties of Konasheher (shufu xian 疏附县), located in Kashgar Prefecture, and Tekes (tekesi xian 特克斯县) in Ili Prefecture” in East Turkistan.
The Chinese Communist Party is currently engaging in a genocide against the Uyghur people – and other Turkic groups, such as Kyrgyz and Kazakh people – in East Turkistan, as established by a wide range of experts and multiple governments, including the administrations of Presidents Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The evidence leading to the conclusion that China is intentionally attempting to destroy these ethnic groups includes the use of over 1,000 concentration camps to indoctrinate, torture, enslave, and rape victims; the mass sterilization of non-Han ethnic women; and a concerted effort to eradicate Islam in the country by destroying mosques or forcing them to preach only communist indoctrination and promote Xi Jinping’s personality cult.
Of tantamount importance regarding the enforcement of international law, where genocide is considered a peremptory norm that any court can prosecute, is understanding who has ordered the genocidal policies currently being implemented so as to know who should face trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) or another similar venue. The senior officials whose remarks appear in the Xinjiang Police Files repeatedly, and clearly, credit Xi Jinping personally for mandating a campaign to erase the indigenous people of East Turkistan.
In a transcript of remarks by Communist Party secretary in Xinjiang Chen Quanguo, for example, Chen consistently calls genocidal strategies like trapping Uyghurs in concentration camps “the Party Central Committee’s strategy for governing Xinjiang with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core.” Zenz refers to the document containing these remarks, made in June 2018 following a visit by Public Security Minister Zhao to the region, in his academic article as “perhaps the most important document of the Xinjiang Police Files because it very directly implicates the central government – and Xi Jinping himself – in the campaign of mass internment.”
The strategy Chen detailed, which he directly credits “the General Secretary” (Xi Jinping) with implementing, is a five-year plan that began in 2017 and is expected to end this year that includes the creation of “vocational training centers” – China’s euphemism for the concentration camps – in addition to the infiltration of all mosques with communist propaganda, “the seizing of wild imams,” and a policy of ethnic erosion both Chen and Zhao in his remarks referred to as “breaking lineages, breaking roots, breaking connections, breaking origins.”
Chen applauded his team in his remarks for having successfully implemented Xi’s ideas.
“The sources of extremism have been controlled well, the seizing of wild imams has been done well, the investigating of two-faced persons has been done well,” he praised. “the ‘Digging, Reducing, and Shoveling,’ the ‘Four Breaks’ (breaking lineages, breaking roots, breaking connections, breaking origins) have been done well.”
Chen also praised the promotion of “ethnic unity and the idea that all ethnicities are one family has been done well [through] cadres living [with ethnic minorities],” an apparent reference to both mass surveillance of civilians through the East Turkistan police state and potentially to the “Becoming Family” program. The program forces Uyghur families to accent an ethnic Han Communist Party member living in their homes and spying on them. The new “family member” often replaces the male head of household, forced into a concentration camp, and sleeps in the same bed with the matriarch. Uyghurs have reported widespread rape and sexual abuse through the program.
“Under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core,” Chen later repeats, “our Party Committee cannot stop the anti-separatist struggle for even a single minute, even if basic stability will be achieved in five years [2017 to 2021], we will continue to strike hard on it in the next five years [by implication 2022 to 2026].”
In Public Security Minister Zhao’s remarks, some days before Chen’s speech, the top national-level official similarly repeats the mantra of “breaking lineages, breaking roots, breaking connections, breaking origins” and repeatedly credits Xi with the campaign to erase the cultural heritage of Xinjiang.
“This investigation study visit to Xinjiang was approved by General Secretary Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang; fully reflecting the great importance, concern and support of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core for the work in Xinjiang,” Zhao insists at the top of his remarks. “The purpose of the investigation study visit is to implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s strategy for governing Xinjiang.”
This photo, taken on May 31, 2019, shows a Uighur woman (C) going through an entrance to a bazaar in Hotan, in China’s northwest Xinjiang region. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)
“General Secretary Xi has presided over several meetings to study and deploy Xinjiang work, delivered a series of important speeches, issued a series of important instructions,” Zhao narrated, “clarifying the Party Central Committee’s strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era and the general goals of Xinjiang work.”
Zhao went on to explain that Xi was micromanaging even how many staffers should work in each concentration camp and ordered the government to continue “enlarging the capacity” of concentration camps.
Zhao particularly applauded Party officials in the region for their work in “transformation through education,” a reference to the “vocational training” concentration camps. He claimed that as many as 2 million people in the region “have been influenced by pro-Xinjiang independence and “Double-Pan” [pan-Turkist and pan-Islamist] thinking,” effectively calling millions of people terrorists.
American government estimates suggest that as many as 3 million people were forced into concentration camps in East Turkistan at the peak of the campaign.