- China is coercing Uighurs to leave Xinjiang on job-transfer schemes, a leaked report shows.
- The report, meant for Chinese officials, said transfers “meld and assimilate Uighur minorities.”
- Beijing considers Uighurs a terror risk and has worked to erase their culture.
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A leaked report for Chinese officials suggests Beijing is offering Uighurs jobs thousands of miles from their homeland, and pressuring them to accept, in an attempt to erode their personal and regional identity.
Since 2016, China has detained some one million Uighurs in their homeland of Xinjiang in hundreds of prison camps across the region. China claims the Uighurs are a terror threat, and is accused of brainwashing Uighurs and trying to slash birthrates, prompting the US and Canada to accuse Beijing of genocide.
But in a new revelation, Beijing appears to be actively working to remove Uighurs from their homeland and force them to assimilate into Chinese culture by sending them to work far across the country as part of a job-transfer scheme, according to a May 2018 report by Nankai University and circulated among senior Chinese officials.
The report, based on surveys conducted in Xinjiang’s Hotan Prefecture, was put online in December 2019 but removed in mid-2020, according to Zenz’s analysis. The BBC said the report was accidentally placed online.
The report called the job transfers “an important method to influence, meld and assimilate Uighur minorities” and achieve a “transformation of their thinking.”
China has often characterized its actions in Xinjiang, including the detention of Uighurs, as a way to purge them of so-called extremist thoughts. A visitor to a detention camp told the BBC in 2018 that he saw people being forced to sing propaganda songs in order to get food.
“Let them gradually change their thinking and understanding, and transform their values and outlook on life through a change of environment and through labour work,” the report added, according to an English translation.
Zenz wrote that Chinese academics argued that the work transfers “are a crucial means to ‘crack open the solidified society’ and to mitigate the negative impact of religion.”
The academics in the report said there was a “severely excessive” number of Uighur surplus laborers that constituted a “latent threat to the current regime,” Zenz wrote.
Zenz added: “The primary aims of labor transfers are not economic, but political and demographic,” adding that he believed they form “an integral part of the state’s campaign of cultural and demographic genocide.”
“Government documents state that labor transfers are part of ‘raising population quality’ … a concept commonly found in family planning policy that has been associated with eugenics,” Zenz wrote.
The Chinese government told the BBC that Zenz’s report “reflects only the author’s personal view and much of its contents are not in line with the facts.”
Erin Farrell Rosenberg, a former senior advisor to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, said the report shows there are “credible grounds to conclude” that the work-transfer scheme constitute crimes against humanity, Zenz said.