Published Online First in the JEACS: The Xinjiang Police Files Re-Education Camp Security and Political Paranoia in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

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The Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies (JEACS) is pleased to publish online first and in open access this article:


The Xinjiang Police Files:Re-Education Camp Security and Political Paranoia in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

新疆公安文件: 職業技能教育培訓中心的警力管理与新疆政策中的偏執妄想症

By Adrian Zenz


From 2017, the Chinese state detained Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in so-called Vocational Skills Education and Training Centres (VSECs). Previously, witnesses and leaked state documents outlined the securitised nature of these re-education facilities. Now, the “Xinjiang Police Files,” a major cache of classified files obtained by a third party from internal XUAR police networks, provides an unprecedented inside view. Detailed re-education camp security instructions describe special police units carrying military assault weapons and show guards handcuffing detainees. The files include thousands of images of detained Uyghurs and show that in 2017/18, over 12 percent of Uyghur adults were detained. Candid internal speeches show leading officials’ impassioned demands to treat persons from ethnic groups like dangerous criminals, and to readily open fire to stop escapees and to safeguard the camps. This article authenticates and contextualises the Xinjiang Police Files within the growing field of published internal XUAR government documents. Scholars have argued that political paranoia is a common feature of atrocity crimes. Here, it is suggested that the pre-emptive internment of large numbers of ordinary citizens can be explained as a devolution into political paranoia that promotes exaggerated threat perceptions.



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