People held in controversial training camps in Xinjiang have "graduated" and new students will have the "freedom to come and go," the government of China's far western region said yesterday, slamming foreign estimates of the numbers detained.
The United States and some Western nations have issued sharp rebukes after the United Nations and rights groups estimated between one million and two million people, mostly Uygurs, were detained as part of a sweeping anti-terrorism campaign.
Estimates in foreign media were "pure fabrication," Xinjiang's governor, Shohrat Zakir, said. "The US is getting restless and has launched a smear campaign against Xinjiang. But no force can stop Xinjiang's progress toward stability and development."
Zakir did not provide a figure for the number of people housed in what the government describes as "vocational education centers."
"Students with the help of the government have realized stable employment and improved their quality of life," Zakir said.
Those in the centers have "all completed their courses," he said, adding that "there are people entering and exiting."
In addition to the centers, the government's next step is to "proceed with daily, routine, normal, and open educational training to village cadres, rural party members, farmers, herdsmen, and unemployed graduates of middle school and high school," Zakir said.