China threatens to open mass “re-education” camps if it invades Taiwan, in a chilling echo of the Uyghur genocide

CHINA has threatened to impose “re-education” on Taiwan to make its citizens “patriotic” if it successfully invades the island.

The warning is a chilling echo of the policies of China’s mass education camps, which have been holding millions of Uyghurs in what several countries have labeled a genocide.

A Chinese re-education camp in the Xinjiang region


A Chinese re-education camp in the Xinjiang regionPhoto credit: Reuters
Some of the millions of Uyghurs forced into the camps


Some of the millions of Uyghurs forced into the campsCredit: See caption

China regards the democratic and self-governing island of Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to reunite it with the mainland by force if necessary.

Beijing was furious when senior US politician Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan and launched six days of war games around the island, which was just a few kilometers from its shore.

After Pelosi’s visit, two of China’s ambassadors said Beijing will impose its will on the people by educating them to think correctly.

“We will re-educate,” Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to France, told local TV.

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“I am sure that the people of Taiwan will take a positive view of reunification and become patriots again.”

After criticism, he later doubled down on his comments that the government in Taiwan had incited the people there against China.

He asked, “Why do I say ‘transform’?” and explained that the Taiwanese people are now “effectively indoctrinated and intoxicated.”

“She needs to be re-educated to eliminate separatist thinking and secessionist theories,” he said.

China’s Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian also said Taiwan’s people must be taught to think “correctly” about China after an invasion.

“It’s reasonable for us to understand that their view of China, their view of their motherland, might have slightly different views. I think that’s a fact,” he said.

“I think my personal understanding is that after Taiwan is reunited and returned to the motherland, there might be a process for people in Taiwan to have a correct understanding of China about the motherland.”

The view that Taiwan’s people need re-education after an invasion is shared by many Chinese citizens.

It’s summed up in a phrase often seen on social media, which translates to “keep the island, don’t keep the people.”

The diplomats’ comments come as Beijing spelled out its commitment to reunifying Taiwan in a “white paper” that hints at a policy of re-education.

It pledges to “enhance our countrymen’s knowledge of the mainland and dispel those misunderstandings and concerns to help them resist separatist manipulation.”

The director of the Center for Uyghur Studies, Abdul Hakim, said Lu’s comments were a chilling echo of the camps that hold Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.

He said he and his colleagues worked hard to tell the world that China was “using Uyghurs as test subjects with plans to spread their genocidal tactics to other parts of the world.”

“Now China says it will set up a concentration camp in Taiwan,” he wrote.

What is happening in Xinjiang?

The area is an autonomous region of China in the northwest of the vast country.

It is home to around 25 million people and covers 640,000 square miles, making it China’s largest province.

However, less than ten percent of the land is suitable for human habitation.

It has been part of China since 1949 and became an autonomous region in 1955.

The area is currently the largest natural gas producing area in the country.

In recent years, it has been claimed by journalists and human rights activists that residents of the province are being held in detention camps.

Last year, a newspaper reported that writers, artists and academics were among those arrested.

There are also allegations that Uyghurs are thrown into the camps for arbitrary reasons, such as wearing beards or veils.

Exiled human rights activist Mirbek Serambek told RFA the ambassadors’ threats were likely backed by China’s President Xi Jinping.

“This shows that the Chinese government’s re-education policy is unlikely to change for the time being and that it was likely under Xi Jinping’s strict orders,” he said.

China has long been accused of using hellish “re-education camps” in Xinjiang province to quell political dissent and persecute Uyghur Muslims by eradicating their culture.

There were allegations that women held in the camps were forcibly sterilized, while others were electrocuted.

Survivor Kayrat Samarkand recounted how the guards put him in an iron maiden-style metal suit.

“They made me wear what they called ‘iron clothing’ – a metal suit that weighed over 50 pounds.

“It forced my arms and legs into an extended position. I couldn’t move at all and my back was in terrible pain.”

The Chinese insist the camps are there to prevent extremism and help Uyghurs find jobs.

The US, Britain, Canada and the Netherlands are among several countries that have previously accused China of committing genocide in Xinjiang.

The accusation is based on an international convention that defines genocide as “the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”. China threatens to open mass “re-education” camps if it invades Taiwan, in a chilling echo of the Uyghur genocide


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