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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

About a half-million Uighur children have been separated from their families and placed in boarding schools as part of China's effort to eradicate the Uighur identity, The New York Times reports.

The big picture per Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: Forced family separation is a tried-and-true method that governments have used to permanently eradicate minority identities and culture. The New York Times reveals for the first time the true scale — and the genocidal intent — of China's intergenerational family separation policies in Xinjiang, a province with a large population of Uighurs.

The state of play: The Chinese government showcases the schools as a way to fight poverty, and plans to have up to two schools in each of Xinjiang's 800-plus townships by the end of next year, the Times writes.

  • Chinese officials hope the boarding schools will teach the children to be secular and more loyal to both the nation and the Communist Party.
  • Authorities in Xinjiang are recruiting tens of thousands of teachers from across the country to teach at these schools, while many Uighur teachers have been imprisoned. Most of the newly recruited teachers are Han Chinese, the nation's dominant ethnic group, according to the Times.
  • The schools do not teach in or use Uighur as the main language. Preschools being built in the area are exposing younger children to Chinese as soon as possible.
  • More than a million dollars has been set aside for security equipment at these schools, including facial recognition technology.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Resurrecting Martin Luther King's office

King points to Selma, Alabama on a map at his Southern Christian Leadership Conference office in Atlanta in January 1965. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Contributor

Efforts to save the office where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., planned some of the most important moments of the civil rights movement are hitting roadblocks amid a political stalemate.

Why it matters: The U.S. Park Service needs to OK agreements so a developer restoring the historic Prince Hall Masonic Lodge in Atlanta — which once housed King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference — can tap into private funding and begin work.

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.