With This Leak of Secret Documents, “The cover is blown”
The release of such sensitive, secret documents is unprecedented, say experts, and these new materials clearly contradict the rhetoric coming from Beijing. “It is really, really rare for us to see these kinds of documents,” intelligence expert James Mulvenon tells the Washington Post. “That goes to the intentionality of the people who have been leaking them—which is to say, we have courageous people who think this is wrong or has gotten out of control.”
Adrian Zenz of the U.S.-based human-rights organization Victims of Communism Memorial Fund (VCMF) says governments can deny press reports and first-hand accounts, but “it cannot deny its own communications. It can try to, but it’s ridiculous. It’s like the cover is blown.”
The international community must start holding China accountable for its human-rights violations, writes Peter Irwin of the World Uyghur Congress. “Beijing will continue to evade and obfuscate no matter the evidence put forward,” he writes. “China will have to start to hurt for anything to change.” All nations, Irwin adds, have “a collective responsibility to call for an immediate end to a campaign accurately likened to the worst injustices in modern history.”
The Chinese camps have been called the largest internment of an ethnic religious minority since World War II.
U.S.: Chinese Government Is ‘at war with faith’
American officials have condemned China’s oppression of minority groups, including Christians. Sam Brownback, who heads the U.S. Office of International Religious Freedom, said last year that Chinese officials are “at war with faith.” After visiting Hong Kong, Brownback said, “The Trump administration is deeply concerned and considered it a deliberate attempt by Beijing to redefine and control these Muslim minority groups, [their] identity, culture, and faith.” He added that the terrorism-prevention excuse is flimsy, and “the magnitude of these detentions is completely out of proportion to any real threat China faces from extremism.”
Through re-education and assimilation, China aims to create model citizens and eliminate dissent. The use of high-tech tactics to shift people’s loyalty away from a religion or culture should set off alarms for anyone concerned about freedom of faith. Mulvenon, the intelligence expert, calls Chinese surveillance “a harbinger—to all countries—about the implementation of these machine-learning technologies that allow you to do these very powerful and scary things.” Techniques such as facial scanning amount to “racial profiling on artificial intelligence steroids,” he says.
“There’s no other place in the world where a computer can send you to an internment camp,” says Xinjiang expert Rian Thum. “This is absolutely unprecedented.”
Zenz of VCMF says, “It’s the dark days of the Cultural Revolution, except now it’s powered by high-tech.”