China has published a white paper defending its Xinjiang internment camps for Uighurs and other ethnic minorities following the US announcing it will block some exports from the region over alleged human rights abuses.
Beijing’s paper, published on Thursday, also gives some indication of the scale of the labour programmes, stating that an average of 1.29 million workers were trained annually between 2014 and 2019 in Xinjiang.
The document does not clarify whether workers have passed through these “vocational training centres“ multiple times.
In the report, the Chinese Communist party government defends its labour programme by claiming it exists to alleviate poverty through employment, saying: “Through its proactive labor and employment policies, Xinjiang has continuously improved the people’s material and cultural lives, and guaranteed and developed their human rights in every field.”
Beijing has come under fire for accusations of human rights abuses and even cultural genocide against the camps’ Uighur Muslims, allegations it has repeatedly denied.