Religious Minorities Are Brought to 'Thought Transformation' Camps in China

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Monday, July 8, 2019
Religious Minorities Are Brought to 'Thought Transformation' Camps in China

Religious Minorities Are Brought to 'Thought Transformation' Camps in China

A new BBC report gives an inside look into China’s “thought transformation” camps, where men and women are “re-educated.”

According to CBN News, Christians, Muslims and other religious minorities are brought to the camps for what the government calls “re-education.” There they are given Mandarin lessons and sometimes forced into labor or even tortured.

In the video report, a BBC reporter asks a man at the camp if he chose to be at the re-education facility.

“Yes,” the man said before noting that he had been influenced by “religious extremism.”

He added, “A policeman at my village told me to get enrolled in the school and transform my thoughts.”

In the video BBC reporter John Sudworth asked a government official at the facility what they would do if someone did not want to come to “school.”

The government official identified as Mahemuti said, “We’ve never encountered that before. But we’d proactively guide them.”

Sudworth then questioned why the facilities were different from prisons since those who go, cannot leave on their own accord. 

According to reports, men and women at the facility are instructed to write, “I love the communist party of China” repeatedly. They also must take a four-month long course in “how to make a bed.”

The BBC said their reporters were given a screened version of the camps.

“It was clear that the Chinese authorities were presenting a picture of the camps that was very different to the day-to-day reality,” the report said.

In one interview, the BBC asked a woman why she had been in the camp for more than a year. She said she had the app WhatsApp on her phone.

The woman also said that she and the other inmates were told not to speak out to reporters visiting the camp.

“If any of you speak out, you will go to a worse place than this,” she said the officials told her.

“That’s why everyone is scared and does what they are told,” she said.

However, an officer from the Xinjiang Foreign Affairs Office told reporters that their work is meant to prevent crime.

“Some people before they commit murder already show they’re capable of killing,” Zhang Zhisheng said. “Should we wait for them to commit the crime? Or should we prevent it from happening?

“We aim to change their religious extremist thoughts.”

The BBC reporter replied: “We would call that brainwashing.”

Camp inmates reportedly receive one day of home-leave every week, but BBC video showed that no one left the facility on that day.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

Video courtesy: BBC

Religious Minorities Are Brought to 'Thought Transformation' Camps in China