Guards at Chinese internment camps holding Uyghurs are under "shoot-to-kill" orders for prisoners who attempt to escape, an extensive leak of police reports claimed Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of images, documents, and files about the alleged detainment of up to 2 million of China's Muslim population, with ages ranging from 15-73, were included in the report, dubbed the "Xinjiang Police Files."


The report, released by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, details the abuse faced by those who are placed in China's so-called reeducation or vocational centers in the western Xinjiang region prior to and including 2018.

"This cache provides incredible detail and evidence that what the Chinese government is doing in Xinjiang is clearly not vocational training, which is what they have been claiming for the last several years, and [they] are in fact running internment camps or prisons," former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, who serves as the president and CEO of the foundation, told the Washington Examiner in an interview.

The shoot-to-kill policy outlined in the leak instructs guards to tell their superiors when someone is attempting to escape. Guards are then told to command the escapee to place their hands behind their head. If the escapee does not obey, guards are instructed to fire warning shots. If the prisoner still does not stop, they are instructed to fire shots that would kill the prisoner.

"I've never seen anything like that before. It's deeply troubling and just goes to show these are clearly not vocational training centers," Bremberg told the Washington Examiner. "They view this as security focused to potentially contain or potentially kill what they view as dangerous people from potentially ever escaping."

Uyghur prisoners are also shackled, handcuffed, and blindfolded any time they are transported out of the camp, the report says. Images of guards armed with batons and automatic weapons as well as watchtowers equipped with machine guns were included in the unprecedented leak.

Chinese officials have denied the existence of internment camps for years.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Tuesday that the material shared in the report represented “the newest example of a smear campaign by anti-China forces," according to the South China Morning Post. “Spreading lies and rumors cannot deceive the world, nor can it cover up the fact that Xinjiang is peaceful and stable."


Bremberg, who served as the U.S. representative to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva during the Trump administration, encouraged Western democracies to take action. The release of the files coincided with U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet's visit to China this week, including to the western Xinjiang region.

"It is imperative, I would say, to do both, that the United States and all democracies, and all countries that purport to care for human rights, after such a revelation like this must pursue as a solution in the Human Rights Council and to condemn what was clearly a genocide and gross human life human rights violations taking place in Xinjiang by the Chinese," Bremberg said.