According to local budget documents analyzed by the report, expenditure on total domestic security surged by 92% in the one year period, which included a 239% increase in spending for “detention center management” and 118% increase in spending for the “justice system.”
In fact the report found that vocational spending in Xinjiang dropped by 2017, falling 7% in total.
The largest jump was categorized under the vague definition of “other domestic security expenditure,” which skyrocketed between 2016 and 2017 by 351%.
“These facts do not support the notion of a large campaign to improve vocational skills,” report author Adrian Zenz wrote in his conclusion.
“Rather, the mass disappearances of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, beginning in early 2017, almost certainly resulted in their imprisonment in de facto political re-education institutions administered by public security or justice system authorities.”
In a lengthy interview with state-run Xinhua news agency published on October 16, Xinjiang Governor Shohrat Zakir, himself an ethnic Uyghur, said the Chinese government was fighting “terrorism and extremism” in its own way, and in accordance with United Nations resolutions.
The official added there was “still a long way to go” in some parts of the province to eradicate “extremism.”
At the same time, state broadcaster CCTV released a documentary ostensibly showing excerpts of life inside the camps, including inmates learning vocational skills and enjoying outdoor activities.
“I can’t imagine the outcome if I hadn’t come here to study,” one interviewee told CCTV. “I may follow those religious extremists and step on the path of committing crimes. The Party and the government discovered me and saved me.”