This section offers a chronological documentation of reports on the ongoing troubling events in China’s Xinjiang since as early as 2015. The project aims to provide a reading guide about the recent developments, experts’ explanations, as well as an understanding of what ethnic Uyghurs and Kazakhs are going through on a daily basis. More resources will be updated regularly. The materials listed here document the gradual escalation of state control in Xinjiang, Northwest China. From demolition of mosques and passport recall beginning in 2015 to today’s mandatory biodata collections, hi-tech surveillance, and mass re-education camps incarcerating Muslim minorities. The estimated numbers of incarcerated could be as many as one million.



Markus Fiskesjö, Cornell University

Bibliographies of Select News Reports and Academic Works

This bibliography contains an extensive list of sources related to the re-education camps and forced assimilation in Xinjiang. The list is constantly updated and suggestions to new additions are also welcome.


Darren Byler, University of Colorado, Boulder

Darren Byler’s Xinjiang Column on SupChina

Darren Byler, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His research is centered on technology and politics of urban life in Central Asia. His column on SupChina focuses on societal conditions and human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region.

Development of Re-Education Camps

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Cornell University

The World Bank Was Warned About Funding Repression in Xinjiang

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian shows that when the World Bank gave a $50 million loan to China for the purpose of an education and vocational project in Xinjiang, it was warned numerous times that it was potentially funding repressive projects. The World Bank moved forward with the loan, stating that the project had been thoroughly vetted.

International Responses

Hayley Byrd, CNN, 14 May 2020

Senate Approves Human Rights Bill

The US Senate approves a bill, officially titled the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, to sanction the Chinese Government for detaining Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities within re-education camps and putting them in forced labour. If enacted, the White House will submit a report to Congress with individuals responsible, where sanctions will be imposed.

Tom Miles, Reuters12 July 2019

Saudi Arabia and Russia Among 37 States Backing China’s Xinjiang Policy

In response to a letter authored mostly by countries within the Transatlantic Sphere to the UN, 37 countries have written their own letter supporting China’s policy of anti-terrorism in Xinjiang. The list of countries includes Russia, Saudi Arabia, and many other majority-Muslim nations. The letter also praises China’s effort of de-radicalization while still upholding human rights. This list would later increase to 54 countries in another UN conference in October.

, The New York Times, 10 July 2019

China Rebuked by 22 Nations Over Xinjiang Repression

In a letter to the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, a group of 22 mostly-western countries issue a joint statement condemning China for detaining up to two million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. It is the first major international statement that has challenged China’s mass-detention policy.

Interviews and Primary Accounts

Nmslese, China Digital Times, 4 November 2020

“What’s Happening in Xinjiang: An Account in Southern Xinjiang during a Visit with Several Party Cadres.”

Nmselese writes about their eye witness account as an ex-CCP journalist during a visit to southern Xinjiang in 2018. They document the differential treatments from the authorities towards Han Chinese and Uyghurs. For instance, at checkpoints, Han Chinese can get through easily while Uyghurs have to be searched thoroughly and many other banal, but revealing, details. Article in Chinese.

Gene A. Bunin, The Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia, 13 December 2019

“There Was No Learning at All”

Abridged first-person account of Xinjiang camp eyewitness Nurlan Kokteubai, delivered at the office of the Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights organization on November 5, 2019.

Gene A. Bunin, The Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia, 1 November 2019

“Because You Had to Do It Very Quickly, or You Could be Punished.”

A summary of the interview with Xinjiang camp eyewitness Tursunay Ziyawudun, done at the office of the Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights.

David Stavrou, Haaretz, 17 October 2019

A Million People Are Jailed at China’s Gulags. I Managed to Escape. Here’s What Really Goes on Inside

Rape, torture and human experiments. Sayragul Sauytbay offers firsthand testimony from a Xinjiang ‘reeducation’ camp.

Matt Rivers and Lily Lee, CNN, 9 May 2019

Former Xinjiang Teacher Claims Brainwashing and Abuse Inside Mass Detention Centers

A former employee at the camps recounts of horrific stories of abuse and indoctrination.

AFP, Hong Kong Free Press, 22 March 2019

Eat Pork, Speak Chinese, No Beards: Muslim Former Detainee Tells of China Camp Trauma

For Muslims in China’s re-education camps, indoctrination starts with early morning patriotic songs and sessions of self-criticism, and often ends with a meal of only pork, according to one exiled former detainee.

Katrin Kuntz, Spiegel International, 13 November 2018

An Inside Look at China’s Reeducation Camps

Ex-prisoners who have escaped across the border to Kazakhstan talk about their imprisonment.

The Surveillance State in Xinjiang

Rayhan Asat and Yunah Diamond, Foreign Policy, 15 July 2020

The World’s Most Technologically Sophisticated Genocide Is Happening in Xinjiang

This article describe the latest reports from Xinjiang which documents that Uyghurs have been forced to be sterilized, as well as caches of products with human hair that was forcefully removed from imprisoned Uyghurs. It also points out that China is a signatory to to the Genocide Convention and argues the US must take action.

Isobel Cockerell, Wired Magazine, 9 May 2019

Inside China’s Massive Surveillance Operation

Isobel Cockerell discusses both the system of surveillance in Xinjiang, as well as how escaped Xinjiang residents have been resisting digital oppression elsewhere.

Darren Byler and Timothy Grose, Dissent Magazine, 31 October 2018

China’s Surveillance Laboratory

Darren Byler and Timothy Grose discuss the various features of the surveillance state that has been implemented in Xinjiang, such as security checkpoints, mosque monitoring, and tracking biometric data.

Mercy A. Kuo, The Diplomat, 28 December 2017

Uyghur Biodata Collection in China

Mercy A. Kuo interviews Darren Byler for insights on the development of technology developing biometric data, the response from the Uyghur population, and policy implications for the future.