Thousands of Uyghur children in China have been separated from their parents because they have been moved to re-education camps, an analysis of official government documents shows. The Economist Friday published an investigation into the plight of children of Uyghurs, an Islamic ethnic minority that is being crack down on the Communist regime in Beijing.
German anthropologist Adrian Zenz analyzed government documents from the western region of Xinjiang. There are internment camps where the Uyghur population has to follow re-education programs. More than a million Uyghurs are believed to be in prison.
It now appears that in 2018 in Yarkand province, in the Xinjiang region, almost 10,000 children lived, one parent of whom was in a camp. Nearly a thousand children had to miss both parents.
If Yarkand’s figures are extended to the entire region, this means that of 250,000 children under the age of 15 there are one or two parents in a camp.
880,000 children in orphanages
According to the study, more than 880,000 children are in orphanages or boarding schools in the Xinjiang region. To take care of all the children left behind, the Chinese government is rapidly converting primary schools and even childcare locations into often highly secured boarding schools.
Separating families and living in such a boarding school has a major impact on the well-being of the children, according to the study.
The Economist calls the persecution of the Uyghurs a crime against humanity. The Chinese Foreign Minister said on Friday that this accusation is incorrect.
In the past, Beijing denied the existence of the camps, while the government later described the camps as part of training and re-education programs aimed at combating poverty and terrorism in the region. Last year, an official claimed that most of the prisoners had been released.