China's authoritarian regime is targeting its Uighur minority and placing many of them in concentration camps. And it's striking just how shameless China is about their operation.
On Tuesday, a top government official explained away these prison camps as a "vocational education and training program." According to the official, Shohrat Zakir, who leads the Xianjing province where Uighurs are being detained, the concentration camps are necessary because many Uighurs do not have language skills, knowledge of Chinese law, or the skills to find employment. Correspondingly, he says, the camp program allows them to develop in an environment of comfort and joy. The communist bureaucrat proudly explained that
[t]he cafeteria prepares nutritious free diets, and the dormitories are fully equipped with radio, TV, air conditioning, bathroom and shower. Indoor and outdoor sports venues for basketball, volleyball and table tennis have been built, along with reading rooms, computer labs, film screening rooms, as well as performance venues such as small auditoriums and open-air stages. Various activities such as contests on speech, writing, dancing, singing and sports are organized. Many trainees have said that they were previously affected by extremist thought and had never participated in such kinds of art and sports activities, and now they have realized that life can be so colorful.
It's a holiday camp, you see? And it gets better, because in addition to all the great amenities, the "vocational institutions and schools pay high attention to the trainees' mental health and helped them solve problems in life."
As numerous human rights organizations have documented, around one million Uighurs have been dragged from their homes and thrown into camps on the simple account of their ethnicity and their Muslim faith. Once there, they are mistreated and subjected to brainwashing by the all-knowing central party in Beijing. And that issue of central power is the key here. Because even Zakir is proud to admit that this evil system is the work of China's benevolent dear leader, Xi Jinping. As Zakir notes, "In the past few years, under the firm leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, Xinjiang has thoroughly carried out the policies ... of ensuring social stability and long-term security."
The U.S. shouldn't stand for this. Paying heed to Xi's now officially advertised culpability, the U.S. and European Union should immediately sanction Zakir and other officials presiding over this crime against humanity. And we should make the case that what is happening in China illustrates why the international community should be skeptical of embracing Xi's grand ambition to displace the American-led international order.