What does it take to intern half a million members of one ethnic group in just a year? Enormous resources and elaborate organization, but the Chinese authorities aren’t stingy. Vast swathes of the Uighur population in China’s western region of Xinjiang — as well as Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other ethnic minorities — are being detained to undergo what the state calls “transformation through education.” Many tens of thousands of them have been locked up in new thought-control camps with barbed wire, bombproof surfaces, reinforced doors and guard rooms.

如何才能在一年之内羁押一个民族的50万名成员?这需要庞大的资源和精心组织,但中国当局并不吝啬。在中国西部地区新疆,维吾尔以及哈萨克、柯尔克孜等其他少数民族的大量人口正被拘押,接受国家所谓的“教育转化”。他们当中有上万人被关在配备带刺铁丝网、防爆外层、加固门和警卫室的新型思想控制拘留营里。

The Chinese authorities are cagey and evasive, if not downright dismissive, about reports concerning such camps. But now they will have to explain away their own eloquent trail of evidence: an online public bidding system set up by the government inviting tenders from contractors to help build and run the camps.

对于有关这些拘留营的报道,中国当局讳莫如深、含糊其辞,甚至明确表示否认。但现在他们将不得不解释他们自己留下的确凿证据:一个由政府建立的在线公开招标系统邀请承包商投标,帮助当局建设和管理这些拘留营。

Uighurs have more in common, culturally and linguistically, with Turks than Han Chinese, and many Uighurs are Muslim. Resentful of China’s heavy-handed rule in the region, some have resisted it, usually through peaceful means, but on occasion violently, by attacking government officials and, exceptionally, civilians. The state, for its part, fuels Islamophobia by labeling ordinary Muslim traditions as the manifestation of religious “extremism.”

相对于汉人,维吾尔人在文化和语言上与土耳其人有着更多共同之处,许多维吾尔人是穆斯林。他们当中一些人对中国在该地区的高压统治感到不满,往往通过和平手段进行抵制,但有时也采取暴力抵抗,攻击政府官员,偶尔也攻击平民。而国家将普通穆斯林传统打上宗教“极端主义”标签的做法,无异于进一步助长伊斯兰恐惧症。

Over the last decade, the Xinjiang authorities have accelerated policies to reshape Uighurs’ habits — even, the state says, their thoughts. Local governments organize public ceremonies and signings asking ethnic minorities to pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party; they hold mandatory re-education courses and forced dance performances, because some forms of Islam forbid dance. In some neighborhoods, security organs carry out regular assessments of the risk posed by residents: Uighurs get a 10 percent deduction on their score for ethnicity alone and lose another 10 percent if they pray daily.

在过去十年中,新疆当局加快了重塑维吾尔族习俗的政策——政府称,就连他们的想法也需要接受重塑。地方政府举办公开的典礼和签名活动,要求少数民族宣誓忠于中国共产党;政府还举办强制性的再教育课程和舞蹈表演,因为伊斯兰教某些派别禁止跳舞。在一些地区,安全机构对居民构成的风险进行定期评估:维吾尔族会因为其民族就被扣掉10%的分数,如果他们每天祷告,又会被扣10%。

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Uighurs had grown accustomed to living under an intrusive state, but measures became draconian after the arrival in late 2016 of a new regional party chief from Tibet. Since then, some local police officers have said that they struggled to meet their new detention quotas — in the case of one village, 40 percent of the population.

维吾尔人已经习惯了不断遭受侵扰,但在2016年年底,一个原来就职于西藏的新任自治区党委书记到来后,措施变得愈发严厉。此后,一些当地警察表示他们要努力完成新的拘押指标——有一个村庄有40%的人口被拘禁。

A new study by Adrian Zenz, a researcher at the European School of Culture and Theology, in Korntal, Germany, analyzed government ads inviting tenders for various contracts concerning re-education facilities in more than 40 localities across Xinjiang, offering a glimpse of the vast bureaucratic, human and financial resources the state dedicates to this detention network. The report reveals the state’s push to build camps in every corner of the region since 2016, at a cost so far of more than 680 million yuan (over $107 million).

德国科尔塔尔的欧洲文化与神学学院(European School of Culture and Theology)研究员郑国恩(Adrian Zenz)的一项新研究分析了这些政府招商广告,它们涉及新疆各地40多个地区的各种再教育设施,令外界得以窥见中国是如何投入广泛的官僚、人力与财政资源,来建设这个拘留网络的。报告显示,中国自2016年以来一直在推动新疆地区各个角落的拘留营建设,迄今为止已耗资超过6.8亿人民币。

A bid invitation appears to have been posted on April 27 — a sign that more camps are being built. These calls for tenders refer to compounds of up to 880,000 square feet, some with quarters for People’s Armed Police, a paramilitary security force. Local governments are also placing ads to recruit camp staff with expertise in criminal psychology or a background in the military or the police force.

其中一项招标似乎是在4月27日发布的,这表明更多拘留营正在建设之中。这些招标涉及共计88万平方英尺(约合8万平米)的场地,其中一些还为准军事安全部队——人民武装警察配备了营地。地方政府也打出广告,招募有犯罪心理学专业知识或军队及警察背景的营地工作人员。

Evidence of these technical details is invaluable, especially considering the growing difficulties faced by researchers and reporters trying to work in Xinjiang. Several foreign journalists have produced important articles, despite police harassment and brief arrests; ethnic Uighur reporters, or their families, endure far worse.

这些技术细节的证据极为宝贵,特别是考虑到试图在新疆工作的研究人员和记者面临的困难越来越多。几名外国记者不顾警方的骚扰和短时间的逮捕,撰写了几篇重要的文章;维吾尔记者及其家人的境况则还要糟糕的多。

Given the risks, firsthand accounts from former detainees remain rare — although a few are starting to emerge.

鉴于种种风险,来自曾被拘押的人的第一手资料仍然很少,不过有一些已经开始出现。

In February, a Uighur man studying in the United States gave Foreign Policy one of the most detailed descriptions of detention conditions published to date. He was arrested upon returning to China for a visit last year, and then held for 17 days on no known charge. He described long days of marching in a crowded cell, chanting slogans and watching propaganda videos about purportedly illegal religious activities. As he was being released, a guard warned him, “Whatever you say or do in North America, your family is still here and so are we.”

2月,一名在美国留学的维吾尔人向《外交政策》(Foreign Policy)提供了迄今公布的关于拘留情况的最详细描述。他在去年回中国时被捕,然后在没有受到任何已知指控的情况下被关押了17天。据他描述,他被关在一个拥挤的牢房里,长时间地齐步走,高呼口号,观看关于所谓非法宗教活动的宣传教育视频。获释时,有个看守警告他:“不管你在北美说什么做什么,你的家人还在这里,我们也在这里。”

Last month, an ethnic Kazakh man described to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty his four-month stint in a camp in northern Xinjiang. He met inmates serving terms as long as seven years. He said he had been made to study how “to keep safe the domestic secrets” of China and “not to be a Muslim.” In these cases, as in many others, detainees were held incommunicado, their families left to wonder what had happened to them.

上个月,一个哈萨克族男子向自由欧洲电台/自由电台(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)介绍了他在新疆北部一个营地中被监禁四个月的经历。他见到过在服七年徒刑的囚犯。他说,他被要求学习保守中国的“国家机密”和“不当穆斯林”。在包括这些人在内的诸多案例中,被拘押者都不得与外界接触,家人不知道他们发生了什么事情。

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And now these rare eyewitness accounts are being corroborated, if unwittingly, by the Chinese state itself, as it makes public calls for contracts to build even more detention camps.

现在,中国正在公开寻找承包商,建设更多这样的拘留营,这些罕见的目击者描述,也因此被中国政府自己所证实,虽然是在无意的情况下。

Many details of this carceral system are hidden, and remain unknown — in fact, even the camps’ ultimate purpose is not entirely clear.

这个监禁系统的许多细节是隐蔽的,至今仍不得而知——事实上,就连这些营地究竟想达到什么目的都不清楚。

They serve as grounds for compulsory indoctrination. Some officials use them for prevention as well, to lock down people they presumptively suspect of opposing Chinese rule: In two localities, the authorities have targeted people under 40, claiming that this age group is a “violent generation.”

它们被当做强制灌输教育的基地。一些官员也将它们作为预防措施,锁定被他们怀疑反对中国统治的人:在两个地方,当局重点针对40岁以下的人,声称这个年龄段是“暴力的一代”。

The camps are also tools of punishment, and of course, a threat. Few detainees are formally charged, much less sentenced. Some are told how long a term they will serve; others are simply held indefinitely. This uncertainty — the arbitrary logic of detention — instills fear in the entire population.

拘留营也是一种惩罚工具,当然,还是一种威胁。被拘押者极少经过正式起诉,更别说判刑了。有些人被告知会被拘留多久,还有一些人则被无限期拘押。这种不确定性——拘押的依据是主观的——令所有维吾尔人感到恐惧。

Surveillance was markedly heightened during my last trip to Xinjiang in December — so much so that I avoided talking to Uighurs then for fear that just being in contact with a foreigner would get them sent away for re-education. Meanwhile, my Uighur contacts outside China were pointing to the quota-based purges of the Communists’ Anti-Rightist campaign of 1957-59 and ever-shifting rules during the Cultural Revolution to explain that even if Uighurs in Xinjiang today wanted to submit wholly to the security regime, they no longer knew how to. Joining the security services used to be a rare way to ensure one’s personal safety. Not anymore.

我上次于去年12月去新疆访问期间,发现监视明显加强了,所以当时,我避免和维吾尔人交谈,担心仅仅同外国人接触就会导致他们被送去接受再教育。与此同时,我在中国境外的维吾尔联系人提到了中国共产党在1957年至1959年的反右运动中采取的配额清洗制度,以及在文化大革命期间不断变化的规定,这些都表明,就算现在新疆的维吾尔人想要完全屈从于安全体制,他们也不知道该怎么做。过去,加入安全部门曾是一种少有的门路,可以确保个人安全。现在,这条路也走不通了。

Tens of thousands of families have been torn apart; an entire culture is being criminalized. Some local officials use chilling language to describe the purpose of detention, such as “eradicating tumors” or spraying chemicals on crops to kill the “weeds.”

数十万家庭被拆散,整个文化被视为罪行。一些地方官员使用令人毛骨悚然的语言来描述拘留的目的,比如“切除肿瘤”,或往农作物上喷洒农药,以杀死“杂草”。

Labeling with a single word the deliberate and large-scale mistreatment of an ethnic group is tricky: Old terms often camouflage the specifics of new injustices. And drawing comparisons between the suffering of different groups is inherently fraught, potentially reductionist. But I would venture this statement to describe the plight of China’s Uighurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz today: Xinjiang has become a police state to rival North Korea, with a formalized racism on the order of South African apartheid.

很难用一个词来描述这种对一个民族进行大规模蓄意虐待的行为:旧词汇往往会把新的不公行为中的特色抹去。将不同群体的痛苦进行对比从本质上来说有很大问题,而且有可能过于简化。但我想尝试这样描述中国的维吾尔、哈萨克和柯尔克孜族如今的困境:新疆已经变成了一个与朝鲜不相上下的警察国家,在实行与南非的种族隔离制度类似的种族主义制度。

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There is every reason to fear that the situation will only worsen. Several accounts of Uighurs dying in detention have surfaced recently — a worrisome echo of the established use of torture in China’s re-education camps for followers of the spiritual movement Falun Gong. And judging by their camp-building spree in Xinjiang, the Chinese authorities don’t seem to think they have come close to achieving whatever their goal there is.

有充分理由担心这里的情况会继续恶化。最近,出现了几起被拘禁的维吾尔人死亡的报告——这令人担忧地联想到中国的劳改营对法轮功灵修运动的信徒使用酷刑的确凿事实。从新疆的拘留营修建热潮来看,中国当局似乎认为,他们还远没有实现自己的目标。