They now have names. And faces. There are thousands of faces and they represent many more. For people who have been arbitrarily arrested and detained, forced into forced labor and abused. The victims of a dictatorship were – and their official madness. The new revelations also bear witness to the extent to which China has been persecuting and detaining the Uyghur minority for years. More than ten gigabytes of data from the Chinese police authorities – documents, speeches, photos – were leaked. 14 media worldwide, including the BBC, “Le Monde”, “El País” and “USA Today”, in Germany the “Spiegel” and Bayerischer Rundfunk, have researched and verified the data.
Lists of names, meticulously listed. Reason for detention: Preparation of a terrorist act. The offenses that result from this: Simply using a VPN network, for example, having seen a video or a banned messenger like WhatsApp on the cell phone. Of course, the surveillance state knows who is doing this. Also included in the record is a transcript of a speech by Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, in which he ordered anyone trying to flee to be shot.
The revelations are shocking in their brutal details, as many reactions are now saying. They are not surprising. There was little doubt beforehand that the camps in Xinjiang province are by no means “training institutions” as Beijing claims that violence is done there. Anyone who wanted to know could know that, including the few Uyghurs who managed to escape.
When Annalena Baerbock announced shortly before taking office in December that she wanted to take a harder line against China, not only the People’s Republic, but also one or two entrepreneurs in Germany did not feel comfortable. The reluctance can be explained directly by looking at the trade balances.
Last year, a human rights organization complained against German companies: They would benefit from forced labor. So this is what is happening now: German companies are allegedly profiting from the forced labor of persecuted people in internment camps. The United States and Canada describe what is happening in Xinjiang as genocide. Germany’s silence grew louder and louder. As foreign minister, Baerbock has now called for clarification from China. It must not stop at the request. It’s no longer enough just not to be silent.