New research has found that in one township alone more than 400 children have lost not just one but both parents to internment, either in the camps or in prison.
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As hundreds of thousands of adults are detained in the vast camps, a “rapid, large-scale campaign” to build boarding schools is under way, reports the BBC, in what it says is “the most comprehensive evidence to date about what is happening to children in the region”.
Dr Adrian Zenz, a respected German researcher, says campuses have been enlarged, with new dormitories and hugely inflated capacity. He adds that the authorities have been building their ability to care full-time for large numbers of children while simultaneously building the detention camps for the adults.
In 2017, the number of children enrolled in kindergartens in Xinjiang increased by more than half a million, with Uighur and other Muslim minority children making up more than 90% of that increase.
Uighurs are members of Xinjiang’s largest, predominantly Muslim ethnic group.
Over the past three years, they and others have found themselves detained after China began holding hundreds of thousands of people from minority groups in giant camps.
Although Beijing insists the Uighurs are being educated in “vocational training centres” to counter violent religious extremism, testimony and other evidence has revealed that many are being detained for simply expressing their faith by wearing a veil or praying.
Xu Guixiang, a senior official with Xinjiang’s Propaganda Department, told the BBC that the state denies caring for large numbers of children left parentless.
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