Even the neatly staged scene inside one of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region’s concentration re-education centers was unnerving. An unidentified young Uighur woman dressed in a red and black tracksuit spoke to a Reuters reporter as dozens of other Uighurs donning the same uniform wrote feverishly behind schoolhouse-style desks. Her eyes nervously shifted on and off camera. She recalled suffering from extremist thoughts, which had invaded her brain after she listened to several religious sermons delivered by a non-state-employed imam.
Authorities in her hometown quickly intervened. They told the young woman her actions violated state law and “recommended” she enter a new government program to overcome her deviance. If her incarceration follows the pattern of others, she will remain in re-education until authorities “let her out” and grant her permission to be transferred to a factory or placed under house arrest.