China destroying documents after leaks about Uighur Muslims
A Chinese detention facility in Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux, Xinjiang region. Photo: Ng Han Guan/AP
The Xinjiang regional government in China's far west is deleting data, destroying documents and tightening controls on information, AP scoops.
Why it matters: That's in response to leaks of classified papers on mass detention camps for Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities.
Crisis meetings began after the N.Y. Times last month published "The Xinjiang Papers," a cache of internal speeches by top leaders, including Xi Jinping.
- They continued after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published secret guidelines for operating detention centers, and instructions on how to use technology to target people.
- "The China Cables" was written by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, now Axios' China reporter.
Xinjiang had mandated stricter controls on information before the news reports, then pressure rose, according to Uighurs outside Xinjiang.
- State offices were told to throw away computers, and put camp information in databases disconnected from the internet, in restricted-access rooms.
- Some university teachers were ordered to clean out sensitive data on their computers, phones and cloud storage, and delete work-related social media groups.
In some cases, the state appears to be confiscating evidence of detentions.
- One Uighur, who had been detained in Xinjiang years before, said his ex-wife called him two weeks ago and begged him to send his release papers to her.
- She said eight officers had come to her home to search for the papers, and threatened she'd be jailed for life if she couldn't produce them.