Thousands of photographs from the heart of China’s highly secretive system of mass incarceration in Xinjiang, as well as a shoot-to-kill policy for those who try to escape, are among a huge cache of data hacked from police computer servers in the region.
The Xinjiang Police Files, as they are being called, were passed to the BBC earlier this year.
Their publication coincides with the recent arrival in China of the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, for a controversial visit to Xinjiang, with critics concerned that her itinerary will be under the tight control of the government.
The data reveals China’s use of what Chinese government called re-education camps and formal prisons as two separate but related systems of mass detention for Uyghurs Muslims.
The government’s claim that the re-education camps built across Xinjiang since 2017 are nothing more than schools is contradicted by internal police instructions, guarding rosters and the never-before-seen images of detainees.