Forum: Any evidence of the number in detention camps?

I refer to the report by Straits Times China correspondent Elizabeth Law, "China says it's firmly against foreign interference" (June 1), and am pleased to note that it is quite a balanced article.

However, the closing line is dubious and irresponsible: "More than one million people are believed to have been detained in camps, which China insists are vocational training facilities."

I would like to ask if there is any evidence of this, or if this is lifted from some other unproven source.

What comes to mind is the quote that more than one million people turned up in Hong Kong in 2019 to protest against the extradition law. It turned out that this was a gross exaggeration by some Western media outlets that was blindly or wilfully repeated until it became a "false fact".

If there are indeed more than one million people incarcerated in detention camps, there will be evidence as it is impossible to keep such a huge and extensive project fully under wraps.

It is expected that the writer would have done more due diligence before making such a serious statement in a seemingly innocuous and casual manner.

Han Chee Fong


WRITER'S NOTE:

Since 2018, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has said that as many as one million Uighurs have been held in internment camps. This has also been confirmed by accounts of various individuals whose family members were detained.

China has never denied the existence of these facilities, calling them vocational training centres necessary in counter-terrorism efforts.

Journalists have been unable to verify these claims independently, having to rely on the work of scholars and established international organisations. 

We stand by our report.