The government of the autonomous province of Xinjiang, traditionally inhabited by the ethnic Uyghur minority, with a Muslim majority, has revised its legislation to allow “educating and transforming” people affected by extremism into “vocational training centers”, a term used by Beijing to describe the network of re-education camps.
The law, which came into force on Tuesday, comes right amid the international protests against the prison camps where up to a million ethnic Uyghur citizens have been collected, mainly Muslims, to be re-educated.
In the past, Chinese authorities had denied the possibility of interning people on the basis of their political or religious ideas but had hinted that some citizens could be detained for minor criminal conduct.
This revision, however, recognizes today the use of such centers to eliminate “religious extremism”. The region, for years, is at the center of the attention of the central government, which has made Xinjiang a laboratory for social control.
According to this review, in addition to “professional preparation”, these centers impose the use of the Chinese language, both written and spoken, will describe particular aspects of the laws, and other rules.
One of the aims will be to organize “ideological education to eliminate extremism”, to conduct behavioral and psychological correction operations in order to “help the trainers to transform their thoughts and return to society and their families”.
An older version of the law, passed in March 2017, bans numerous acts as manifestations of extremism, including wearing the veil, carrying “abnormal beards”, refusing to watch state radio or television, preventing children from following national schools.
According to some humanitarian organizations, international human rights law is clear, no matter how much China tries to legalize it.