Dabancheng has a dark and sinister secret, a massive detention center set in the rolling grey desert sands about 60 miles from Urumqi, the Xinjiang provincial capital.
There are more than 10 million Uighurs in Xinjiang, and they speak a Turkic language.
Comprehensive security measures have been put in place in the area to track their every move and include hi-tech measures such as facial recognition, cameras, monitoring devices with the ability to read content in mobile phones, and a massive biometric data collection.
China is guilty of illegally incarcerating hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims in internment camps in their vast far-west regions.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) denies the accusations and insists individuals are willingly attending special “vocational schools” aimed at combatting “terrorism and religious extremism.”
This mass re-education program has seen innocent Muslims locked behind bars. No charges laid, no trial, and no access to any legal process.
Six years ago, a satellite image of the area in Dabancheng revealed very little, other than areas of untouched barren sand. Today’s images tell a whole different story.
In 2018, images from Dabancheng portrayed a monumental high-security compound, surrounded by a mile-long wall, with 16 guard towers.
Giant grey buildings four stories high have taken shape, as the BBC reports after their journey to the area.
The last few years have seen many similar compounds built across Xinjiang, and security is tight, not allowing visitors from the West to see what the CCP is doing in these camps.
“But by the time we arrive in Dabancheng, we’re being followed by at least five cars, containing an assortment of uniformed and plain-clothes police officers and government officials,” reports the BBC.
After being stopped by security from getting too close to the facilities in Dabancheng, reporters from the BBC phoned random residents to gather more information.
“It’s a re-education school,” one hotelier said.
“Yes, that’s a re-education school,” another shopkeeper agreed.
“There are tens of thousands of people there now. They have some problems with their thoughts.”
The BBC shared the satellite images with Raphael Sperry, an architect and the president of the U.S.–based organization, Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility.
“This is a truly massive and bleak detention facility,” he told the BBC. “It appears as a place designed to pack as many people into as small an area as possible at the lowest construction cost.
“I think 11,000 is likely a significant underestimate… From the available information, we can’t tell how the interior is configured or what portion of the buildings is used for detention rather than other functions. Even so, your dormitory estimate of 130,000 people seems, sadly, quite possible.”
Over the past few years, China has been building many new security facilities at remarkable and increasing speed.
CCP build a campaign of lies
Now, the CCP is running a campaign to bad-mouth, discredit and strike terror into the hearts of Uyghur exiles, who are out of touch with their families, using a tactic known as “Proof of Life Videos.”
The tactic is a lie that uses government-manipulated videos purporting to show the family or friends of ‘disappeared’ Uighurs as healthy, alive, and well. They appear to be highly critical of those in exile who suggest otherwise, reports Bitter Winter.
The CCP is attempting to turn the tables on Uighur community members who have dared to speak out against the treatment their loved ones have been subjected to in the hidden internment camps, the rape, torture, and other atrocities committed against them.
The campaign includes text messages to exiled individuals, purported to be from friends and relatives, and fake videos from loved ones to strike terror into their hearts.
The CCP has reserved a unique set of lies and insults against women detainees who have been subjected to sexual abuse in the camps after they have spoken out about the atrocities.
A Global Times Twitter video lashing out at Sayragul Sauytbay following her escape from Xinjiang over the Kazakh border after a period of internment concluded its volley by commandeering the Vice-chairwoman of the Women’s Federation in Zhaosu county to call her a “child abuser,” an inveterate liar, a “degenerate member of all women,” and a “scumbag.”
Emily Upson, author of the report, “The Government Never Oppresses Us,” discussed her findings in a recent webinar and explained the increasing sophistication of the CCP campaign to blacken the names of exiled activists and put doubt into others minds about their moral character.
“The style is becoming increasingly plausible,” she commented. Despite the evidence leaking out of Xinjiang, “If people believe in China, they will believe them,” she said.