1/We were given extraordinary access to the largest detention center in Xinjiang - a behemoth that holds 10,000++. Officials said it's a pre-trial detention center that has nothing to do with the "training centers", which they insist are closed. BUT - we looked into it, and...
2/...in fact, this Dabancheng facility was actually once the "Urumqi City Vocational Skills Training Center". There's hard photographic evidence. In 2018, Reuters went. The nameplate was 乌鲁木齐市职业技能教育培训中心. When we went in April, it changed - to 乌鲁木齐市第三看守所
3/Construction bids, leaked police reports, and interviews corroborate this. One company won an $11 million contract to outfit the Urumqi "training center". They took down their notice after we reached out, but it still lives on in web archives.
4/When we asked Urumqi security official Zhao Zhongwei why the city needed such a huge detention center, he claimed arrest rates hadn't risen. He said it was built for safety reasons.

But Xinjiang's own stats tell a different story: skyrocketing arrest rates starting in 2017
5/The tour appeared to be an attempt to retrospectively legally justify their mass detention campaign in Xinjiang. It's part of a broader shift from the makeshift and extrajudicial “training centers” into a more permanent system of prisons and pre-trial detention facilities.
6/Officials say only criminals are detained. But legal cases in XJ are shrouded in secrecy. The little that's leaked shows sentences are handed down for things like... telling others to pray before eating. Relatives say loved ones have been locked up just for sending money abroad
7/As @shahitbiz has documented diligently, many people who appear to be innocent of any crime are being locked up and given long prison sentences. Though XJ authorities say many have been involved in terrorism, in most cases they've provided no evidence to back their claims.

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More from @dakekang

23 Jun
@macroliter Well, it’s messy and complicated. As far as we can tell, there was an initial period when there was definitely surpression of info and warnings on signs of h2h transmission at the Wuhan govt level, and by mid Jan, at the central level as well...
@macroliter for the samples, there was an order Jan 3 to destroy them or send them to certified govt labs. I think this included at least three: China CDC, China Academy of Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences
@macroliter was this a cover up? maybe not. maybe just done for biohazard safety reasons. but it’s pretty clear sometime in early to mid Jan that a bunch of labs are starting to obtain sequences, but it isn’t being published. not clear why and official narrative on why has gaping holes
Read 21 tweets
23 Feb
1/ It's official. The Associated Press is now using the spelling "Uyghur", not "Uighur".

This is because "Uyghur" is closer to the native pronunciation of the word: OOEE’-ger. The pronunciation WEE’-ger, common in Anglophone media, is slightly off.

A bit of history...
2/ In the 1960s, during the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government banned use of the Uyghur script, based on Arabic letters, and instead forced Uyghurs to use a Romanized form based on the Pinyin system.
3/ Restrictions on use of the Uyghur script were lifted with liberal reforms in 1979, but use of the old Pinyin-based romanization system persisted in English-language Chinese media and government communications.
Read 7 tweets
30 Dec 20
NEW: After Beijing announced the virus was spreading in Jan, Chinese scientists rushed to publish papers. Then, the tide slowed to a trickle.

Now, documents obtained by @AP show this happened b/c President Xi ordered new restrictions on COVID-19 research.
2/The docs, retyped here without identifying marks, show authorities tightened research controls in Feb. and March - soon after a paper by Chinese scientists suggested the virus could have escaped from a Wuhan lab, kicking off an international blame game
web.archive.org/web/2020021414… ImageImage
3/Word of some restrictions trickled out on university websites earlier this year, where they were noticed, reported by @guardian @CNN, and promptly deleted. They showed professors needed approval to do research on the origins of the virus from authorities
Read 20 tweets
3 Dec 20
1/ NEW: During 12 fateful days in January, Chinese authorities failed to report any new coronavirus cases, lulling Wuhan residents into complacency.

Why? In part, because of cronyism and secret deals between the China CDC and three Shanghai companies
2/At first the China CDC moved swiftly, sequencing the virus in 24 hours and writing test protocols in 48. The natural next step, experts and CDC staff say, would have been to publish the sequences, distribute protocols and let scientists to test for the virus.

It was not to be. Image
3/Instead, the China CDC instituted a top-down, rigid disease detection system. They took charge and shoved competing agencies out of the way, demanding all patient samples be routed through Beijing.

One CDC technician told me they made confirming cases “mission impossible”.
Read 29 tweets
5 May 20
Story time: I was once an intern reporter for the Times of India in Delhi, and went to a Korea-India FDI conference (because ofc what else do you do with the Korean American intern). There I met a POSCO rep who had struggled to get land for a steel plant for nearly a decade...
...An Indian state signed an MOU with POSCO in 2005 for a plant but didn’t have any land. POSCO spent the next decade in legal, media battles over land with villagers, politicians, bentel nut farmers, scheduled castes, the local Communist Party:
...also that year, I knew some who worked for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. The DMIC, as they call it, envisioned a high speed rail link between Delhi and Mumbai slicing through 24 special industrial zones. Make in India! High tech! Smart cities! Sounds great right?
Read 11 tweets
5 Mar 20
1/ For over a year, @yananw & I chased this story about China's labor transfer program, under which hundreds of Uighurs working at a tech plant are barred from leaving their compound without minders. Their company supplies Apple, Lenovo, other tech giants:
2/ It was one of the hardest stories I've ever done because of its nuances and complexities, as well as increasingly-routine police harassment. We couldn't speak directly to the Uighur workers, because they weren't allowed out. Nonetheless, we made some interesting discoveries:
3/ The factory employs many Hui, another largely Muslim minority. They told us that the Uighurs are treated differently. They're not allowed out, they can't worship or wear headscarves, and they have to take politics classes in the evening. (They are, however, paid equal wages)
Read 34 tweets

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