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Originally Published February 17, 2020
The goal of China’s so-called re-education camps in the region of Xinjiang is to assimilate long-marginalized Muslim minorities, mostly Uighurs and Kazakhs, into Han Chinese culture. The government says the centers have expanded development and helped prevent terrorism. But the internee records reviewed by VICE News reveal that the vast majority of people sent to the camps were detained for mundane and legal behavior, including wearing a hijab, having “thick beards,” visiting a foreign website, applying for a passport, traveling abroad to a “sensitive country” or having family members living in one, or being part of a “religious family.”