How the U.S. Has Reacted to China’s Treatment of Uyghurs
Over the last three years, China’s mass incarceration of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the region of Xinjiang has gradually come into sharper relief — with mounting evidence of a vast network of detention camps, testimony from survivors and allegations of forced labor.
As FRONTLINE reported in China Undercover, a documentary that first aired in April 2020, the government has also been using artificial intelligence surveillance technology to track and monitor Muslim minorities going about their daily lives in Xinjiang. An engineer who worked on the system told FRONTLINE that facial recognition could label someone as “normal,” “of concern” or “dangerous,” potentially leading to their arrest.
New reports suggest China is expanding and entrenching a system for mass detention, even as government officials have publicly said almost all people were released from the camps. Recent investigations also indicate the government has forced birth control, sterilization and abortions on women in Xinjiang, with the threat of detention if they don’t comply. Birth rates in Xinjiang fell 24% last year, according to government statistics, and the Associated Press noted that birth rates in Hotan and Kashgar — areas with a Uyghur-majority population — plunged more than 60% from 2015 to 2018.
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