This section offers 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.


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 the technology and the 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

A Uighur woman stands beside a propaganda painting showing soldiers meeting with a Uighur family, outside a military hospital near Kashgar in China's northwest Xinjiang region on July 2, 2019.
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 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.

Production in the Region

An SCMP examination traces the supply chain for viscose rayon from Finland’s forests to state-run factories in Xinjiang – and then fanning out around the world. Illustration: Brian Wang
South China Morning Post, 28 March 2021

Beyond cotton, another thread in Xinjiang supply chain creates new snag for global textile firms

This SCMP explores the connection between viscose, the world’s third most popular clothing material, and forced labour allegations through Xinjiang. In order to produce this material, workers are exposed to extremely hazardous chemicals that can have lasting impacts on the health of individuals. Through this reporting, journalists were able to locate viscose factories within miles of reeducation centers identified by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. While cotton has been the major focus of international media outlet’s coverage on forced labour in Xinjiang, viscose has been largely ignored. According to estimates around 20% of the world’s viscose supply comes from Xinjiang raising new ethical considerations about purchasing this material from firms operating in the region.

International Responses and Official Statements

Sarah Anne Aarup, Politico, 16 March 2021

China: Xinjiang camps take similar approach to US, UK, France

During a discussion of possible sanctions against China for the treatment of Turkic Muslim groups, China’s Ambassador to the EU, Zhang Ming argued that the deradicalization centers in Xinjiang were not “entirely different” from those in the UK, US, and France. Zhang noted that all three of these countries engage in counter-terrorism efforts by using detention facilitates and that these centers were necessary for fighting “terrorism, extremism and separatism, [and were] not human rights violations”.

Find the full webinar with Zhang Ming and the European Policy Center here.

Toby Sterling and Bart Meijer, Reuters, 25 February 2021

Dutch parliament: China’s treatment of Uighurs is genocide

The Netherlands becomes the first nation in the European Union to declare the treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim communities in Xinjiang as a genocide. This announcement came in the same week as the Canadian government declared a genocide as well. The non-binding motion notes that the Chinese government is engaged in “measures intended to prevent births” and “having punishment camps” which falls under the United Nations Resolution 260 or Genocide Convention.

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, Reuters, 12 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 gate of what is officially known as a vocational skills education center in Xinjiang, in western China.
, 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 issues 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.

The Surveillance State in Xinjiang


Image for post
Adrian Zenz, Medium, 13 October 2020

Parent-Child Separation in Yarkand County, Kashgar

This report dives into family separation policy taking place in Xinjiang, specifically Yarkand County. Utilizing government documents and internal memos, Zenz creates a picture of what happens to the children of parents who are placed in detention centers throughout Xinjiang. Coined “hardship children”, the article follows the expansion of boarding schools throughout the region and the intensive surveillance network accompanied with it in order to monitor the children.

A man walks past a screen showing images of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Kashgar in China's northwest Xinjiang region on June 4, 2019.
Rayhan Asat and Yunah Diamond, Foreign Policy, 15 July 2020

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

This article describes 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 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.

A Project Beauty poster that was posted throughout the Uyghur neighborhoods of Ürümchi at the beginning of the People’s War on Terror
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.

Uyghur Biodata Collection in China
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.