Since 2017, the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been holding Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other ethnic groups in internment camps throughout Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Northwestern China. While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership claims that the extrajudicial detainment of these groups is part of the country’s fight against terrorism, these developments have also drawn widespread international criticism of potential human rights violations. Researchers have estimated that a million or more people have passed through the state’s internment camps, officially called “vocational education and training centers,” since the policy began.

The government maintains that these sites combat religious extremism and promote closer identification with the state. Critics charge that these camps facilitate cultural genocide, break apart families, and enable the government to coerce labour from detainees. Reliable and systematic documentation of the ongoing situation is critical because of the size and scope of these activities, the silence and fear experienced by those affected, and the state-directed erasure of existing evidence.

The Xinjiang Documentation Project, a joint effort between the Institute for Asian Research in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Department at Simon Fraser University, offers a variety of reports from different perspectives on the ongoing events in Xinjiang.

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 experience on a daily basis. It further aims to integrate research methods from social science, humanities, and other disciplines for the documentation and analysis of the on-the-ground situation.

Resources will be updated regularly.

Site Directory

The project features seven sections.

A brief overview of the events that have shaped the politics of the region in addition to the events that preceded the construction of the re-education centres and mass imprisonment of ethnic minorities.

An archive of key government documents, important academic papers and critical publications, informal leaks of official documents, and human rights reports relating to the treatment of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. This curated repository of documents allows readers to build an understanding of the narratives surrounding the re-education camps in Xinjiang. Each section is a growing archive that contains a short overview of each document along with the original source.

A collection of key terms and definitions that figure prominently in the research of pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) academics and Chinese government policy documents.

A section containing Chinese translations of a curated list of English publications relating to the events in Xinjiang.

A collection of resources for instructors seeking to add materials related to Xinjiang’s internment camps to their lectures and assignments. It features syllabi and teaching plans contributed to the Project by experts on ethnic politics, anthropology, and the history of China and Xinjiang, infographics that condense and explain complex information such as timelines, official forms, and maps, and visual materials such as propaganda and popular artwork.

A list of media links that give voice to the lived experiences of Uyghur, Kazakh, and other Turkic Muslim minorities both before and during Chinese state repression. They are featured in a variety of mediums including articles, photo collections, podcasts, and videos.

A collection of annotated blogs, news reports, interviews, and investigative reports on Xinjiang’s internment camps. This section draws from both international media organizations and China’s own official media outlet, the China Global Television Network.

Project Team

Project Directors


Steering Committee


Dr. Timothy Cheek Ali Bajwa Dr. Elise Anderson Daniel Park
Dr. Guldana Salimjan Remy Hellstern Dr. Darren Byler Dun Ya (顿亚)
Michael Law Dr. Timothy Grose
Jakub Mscichowski Dr. David Tobin
Sean Wu


How to Cite an Entry

Xinjiang Documentation Project. (n.d.). Intellectual and Celebrity Arrests [Timeline]. Retrieved January 10, 2020, from


For more information please contact or find us on Twitter @ProjectXinjiang.

This project is a joint-effort between the Institue of Asian Research in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Department at SFU.