From the Congressional Research Service (June 2020):
Mass InternmentAccording to some estimates, since 2017, Xinjiang authorities have arbitrarily detained approximately 1.5 million Turkic Muslims, mostly ethnic Uyghurs and a smaller number of Kazakhs, in “reeducation camps.” PRC officials describe the Xinjiang facilities as “vocational
education and training centers” where “trainees” study Chinese, learn job skills, undergo “de-extremization” and be “cured of ideological infection.” Some may have engaged in religious and ethnic cultural practices that the government now perceives as extremist, or as manifesting “strongly religious” views or thoughts that could lead to the spread of religious extremism or terrorism. Detainees reportedly are compelled to renounce many of their Islamic beliefs and customs and to undergo self-criticisms. According to some former detainees, treatment and conditions in the camps include crowded and unsanitary conditions, forced labor, food deprivation, beatings, and sexual abuse.In July 2019, Xinjiang officials claimed that most detainees had been released. Many Uyghurs living abroad, however, say that they still have not heard from missing relatives in Xinjiang. Over 400 prominent Uyghur intellectuals reportedly have been detained or their whereabouts are unknown. Some detainees have received prison sentences.Forced and Involuntary LaborAccording to some reports, the government has begun to move large numbers of Uyghurs, including many former detainees, into textile, apparel, and other labor-intensive industries in Xinjiang and other PRC provinces. Uyghurs who refuse to accept such employment may be threatened with detention. They continue to be heavily monitored outside of work, and are required to attend political study classes at night. In March 2020, the Congressional Executive Commission on China released a report, “Global Supply Chains, Forced Labor, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” A study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute identified nearly 120 Chinese and foreign companies, including global brands, that the institute alleges directly or indirectly benefit from Uyghur labor in potentially abusive circumstances.
Shorter June 2021 report from CRS here.
The Congressional Executive Commission on China March 2020 report is here: “Global Supply Chains, Forced Labor, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
Human Rights Watch report: “China’s Crimes against Humanity Targeting Uyghurs and Other Turkic Muslims” (April 2021).