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Leaked documents detail for the first time China’s systematic brainwashing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in a network of high-security prison camps.

The Chinese government has consistently claimed the camps in the far western Xinjiang region offer voluntary education and training.

But official documents, seen by BBC Panorama, show how inmates are locked up, indoctrinated and punished.

China’s UK ambassador dismissed the documents as fake news.

The leak was made to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which has worked with 17 media partners, including BBC Panorama and The Guardian newspaper in the UK.

The investigation has found new evidence which undermines Beijing’s claim that the detention camps, which have been built across Xinjiang in the past three years, are for voluntary re-education purposes to counter extremism.

About a million people – mostly from the Muslim Uighur community – are thought to have been detained without trial.

The leaked Chinese government documents, which the ICIJ have labelled “The China Cables”, include a nine-page memo sent out in 2017 by Zhu Hailun, then deputy-secretary of Xinjiang’s Communist Party and the region’s top security official, to those who run the camps.

The instructions make it clear that the camps should be run as high security prisons, with strict discipline, punishments and no escapes. Read more

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