By: Denise Simon | Founders Code
The United States gives foreign aid to China. Actually, that is against the law. Hello Pelosi and Schiff. Oh but wait, it is all justified as money to counter those abuses. Anyone trust that actually or has anyone followed that money?
It is packaged this way: U.S. foreign assistance efforts in the PRC aim to promote human rights, democracy, and the rule of law; support sustainable livelihoods, cultural preservation, and environmental protection in Tibetan areas; and further U.S. interests through programs that address environmental problems and pandemic diseases in China. The United States Congress has played a leading role in determining program priorities and funding levels for these objectives. These programs constitute an important component of U.S. human rights policy toward China. Among major bilateral aid donors to China, the United States is the largest provider of nongovernmental and civil society programming, according to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Based on what abuses Beijing is applying to the freedom fighters in Hong Kong coupled with that of the prison labor camps (500 of them) of the Uighurs, having a trade agreement between the United States and China is an arguable quest at best or is it?
The Uighur internment camps are actually prison labor camps for the Chinese Belt Road Initiative.
A classified blueprint leaked to a consortium of news organizations shows the camps are instead precisely what former detainees have described: Forced ideological and behavioral re-education centers run in secret.
The classified documents lay out the Chinese government’s deliberate strategy to lock up ethnic minorities even before they commit a crime, to rewire their thoughts and the language they speak.
The papers also show how Beijing is pioneering a new form of social control using data and artificial intelligence. Drawing on data collected by mass surveillance technology, computers issued the names of tens of thousands of people for interrogation or detention in just one week.
The documents were given to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists by an anonymous source. The ICIJ verified them by examining state media reports and public notices from the time, consulting experts, cross-checking signatures and confirming the contents with former camp employees and detainees.
They consist of a notice with guidelines for the camps, four bulletins on how to use technology to target people, and a court case sentencing a Uighur Communist Party member to 10 years in prison for telling colleagues not to say dirty words, watch porn or eat without praying.
The documents were issued to rank-and-file officials by the powerful Xinjiang Communist Party Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the region’s top authority overseeing police, courts, and state security. Much more detail here from Associated Press.
After bloody race riots rocked China’s far west a decade ago, the ruling Communist Party turned to a rare figure in their ranks to restore order: a Han Chinese official fluent in Uighur, the language of the local Turkic Muslim minority.
Now, newly revealed, confidential documents show that the official, Zhu Hailun, played a key role in planning and executing a campaign that has swept up a million or more Uighurs into detention camps.
Published in 2017, the documents were signed by Zhu, as then-head of the powerful Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party in the Xinjiang region. A Uighur linguist recognized Zhu’s signature scrawled atop some of the documents from his time working as a translator in Kashgar, when Zhu was the city’s top official.
“When I saw them, I knew they were important,” said the linguist, Abduweli Ayup, who now lives in exile. “He’s a guy who wants to control power in his hands. Everything.”
Zhu, 61, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Long before the crackdown and despite his intimate familiarity with local culture, Zhu was more hated than loved among the Uighurs he ruled.
He was born in 1958 in rural Jiangsu on China’s coast. In his teens, during China’s tumultuous Cultural Revolution, Zhu was sent to Kargilik county, deep in the Uighur heartland in Xinjiang. He never left.
Zhu joined the Party in 1980 and moved up Xinjiang’s bureaucracy, helming hotspot cities. By the 90s, he was so fluent in Uighur that he corrected his own translators during meetings.
“If you didn’t see him, you’d never imagine he’s Han Chinese. When he spoke Uighur, he really spoke just like a Uighur, since he grew up with them,” said a Uighur businessman living in exile in Turkey, who declined to be named out of fear of retribution.
The businessman first heard of Zhu from a Uighur friend who dealt with the official while doing business. His friend was impressed, describing Zhu as “very capable” — a Han Chinese bureaucrat the Uighurs could work with. But after years of observing Zhu oversee crackdowns and arrests, the businessman soon came to a different conclusion.
“He’s a crafty fox. The really cunning sort, the kind that plays with your brain,” he said. “He was a key character for the Communist Party’s policies to control Southern Xinjiang.”
Ayup, the linguist, met Zhu in 1998, when he came to inspect his township. He was notorious for ordering 3 a.m. raids of Uighur homes, and farmers would sing a popular folk song called ‘Zhu Hailun is coming’ to poke fun at his hard and unyielding nature.
“He gave orders like farmers were soldiers. All of us were his soldiers,” Ayup said. “Han Chinese controlled our homeland. We knew we needed to stay in our place.”
Months after a July 5, 2009 riot left hundreds dead in the region’s capital of Urumqi, Zhu was tapped to replace the city’s chief. Beijing almost always flew in officials from other provinces for the job, in part as training for higher posts. But central officials on a fact-finding mission in Urumqi concluded that Zhu, seen as tougher than his predecessor, needed to take charge.
“They were super unhappy,” said a Uighur former cadre who declined to be named out of fear of retribution. “It had never happened before, but because locals said he was outstanding at maintaining stability, he was snatched up and installed as Urumqi Party Secretary.”
Upon appointment, Zhu spent three days holed up in the city’s police command, vowing to tighten the government’s grip. Police swept through Uighur neighborhoods, brandishing rifles and rounding up hundreds for trial. Tens of thousands of surveillance cameras were installed.
But instead of healing ethnic divisions, the crackdown hardened them. Matters came to a head in April 2014, when Chinese President Xi Jinping came to Xinjiang on a state visit. Just hours after his departure, bombs tore through an Urumqi train station, killing three and injuring 79.
Xi vowed to clamp down even harder.
In 2016, Beijing appointed a new leader for Xinjiang — Chen Quanguo. Chen, whose first name means “whole country”, had built a reputation as a hard-hitting official who pioneered digital surveillance tactics in Tibet.
Zhu was his right-hand man. Appointed head of the region’s security and legal apparatus, Zhu laid the groundwork for an all-seeing state surveillance system that could automatically identify targets for arrest. He crisscrossed the region to inspect internment centers, police stations, checkpoints and other components of an emerging surveillance and detention apparatus.
After Chen’s arrival, Uighurs began disappearing by the thousands. The leaked documents show that Zhu directed mass arrests, signing off on notices ordering police to use digital surveillance to investigate people for having visited foreign countries, using certain mobile applications, or being related to “suspicious persons”. State television shows that Zhu continued on his relentless tour of Xinjiang’s camps, checkpoints, and police stations, personally guiding the mass detention campaign.
Zhu stepped down last year after turning 60, in line with traditional practice for Communist Party cadres of Zhu’s rank. Chen remains in his post.
“Chen Quanguo came in the name of the Party,” said the Uighur businessman. “Zhu knows how to implement, who to capture, what to do.”