A hack on police servers in China’s Xinjiang region has yielded thousands of graphic images and videos of Uighur detainees suffering in detention camps in one of the starkest accounts yet of the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by the country’s persecution of ethnic minorities.
The images are accompanied by training manuals, detailed police work rosters, and instructions for guarding the camps. Using a euphemism to describe inmates, one document states: “If students do not respond to warning shots and continue to try to escape, the armed police shoot to kill,” the BBC
. Images show one prisoner in an iron torture device known as a tiger chair, which immobilizes the arms. Der Spiegel, one of the other outlets that
the tranch of hacked photos and documents, said it confirmed their authenticity in part by analyzing GPS data included in some of the images.
“The material is unprecedented on several levels,” Dr. Adrian Zenz, director and senior fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, who obtained the files and shared them with news outlets,
on Twitter. His thread provided a broad overview of the leaked materials that included “high-level speeches, implicating top leadership and containing blunt language,” “camp security instructions, far more detailed than China Cables [that] describe heavily armed strike units with battlefield assault rifles,” and other evidence of Uighur oppression at the hands of the Chinese government.