The source of the files claims to have been hacked, downloaded and decrypted from a number of police computer servers in Xinjiang, before being passed on to Dr. Adrian Zenz, a scholar at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in the United States. he has previously been sanctioned by the Chinese government for his influential investigation into Xinjiang.
Dr Zenz shared them with the BBC and although we were able to contact the source directly, they were unwilling to reveal anything about his identity or whereabouts.
None of the hacked documents are dated beyond the end of 2018, possibly as a result of a directive issued in early 2019 to tighten Xinjiang’s encryption standards. This may have put any later files out of reach of the hacker.
Dr. Zenz has written a peer-reviewed article on Xinjiang police files for the Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies and has posted the full set of images of detainees and some of the other evidence online.
“The material is not written, it is raw, it is without mitigation, it is diverse. We have it all, “he told the BBC.
“We have confidential documents. We have transcripts of speeches where leaders talk freely about what they really think. We have spreadsheets. We have images. It is unprecedented and destroys the face of Chinese propaganda.”
Xinjiang police archives contain another set of documents that go beyond photographs of detainees exposing the prison nature of re-education camps that China insists are “vocational schools.”
Xinjiang Police Archives: inside a Chinese internment camp
A set of internal police protocols describes the routine use of armed officers in all areas of the camps, the placement of machine guns and sniper rifles in watchtowers, and the existence of a policy of firing on kill for those trying to escape.
Blessed eyes, shackles and shackles are mandatory for any “student” who is transferred between facilities or even to the hospital.
For decades, Xinjiang has seen a cycle of separatism in slow fire, sporadic violence and tightened government control.
But in 2013 and 2014, two deadly attacks on pedestrians and travelers in Beijing and the southern Chinese city of Kunming, blamed by the government on Uighur separatists and radical Islamists, led to a dramatic change in policy.
The state began to see Uyghur culture itself as the problem, and within a few years, hundreds of giant re-education camps began appearing in satellite photos, to which Uyghurs were sent without trial.
Xinjiang’s formal prison system has also been massively expanded as another method of controlling Uyghur identity, especially in the face of growing international criticism for the lack of legal processes in the camps.