Are You suprised ?

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PRODUCTION

SCRIPT

 

 

FOUR CORNERS

INTERNATIONAL EDITION

2019

Tell the World

45 mins 21 secs

 

 

 

 

©2019

ABC Ultimo Centre

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NSW 2007 Australia

 

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Sydney

NSW 2001 Australia

Phone: : :61 2 8333 3314

e-mail :  kimpton.scott@abc.net.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Precis

Tell the world: Exposing how China is creating the world’s largest prison.

 

 

“People started to literally disappear, communities were being emptied of adult men and women.”  China researcher

 

 

It’s a remote corner of the world, but what is taking place there is nothing short of breathtaking.

 

 

“My older brother, younger brothers and two younger sisters, five siblings were all taken by… masked police.   Heavily armed Special Forces police raided their home and taken (sic) them by covering their face and shackling them in front of the kids.”   Australian Uyghur

 

 

Xinjiang province is a vast area of deserts and mountains where the ancient Silk Road once ran.   Today its Uyghur population is being systematically rounded up with estimates of as many as a million citizens being held in detention.

 

 

“I realised it was kind of next level material in terms of what the Chinese state is capable of doing.”  Open source investigator 

 

 

In this investigation by reporter Sophie McNeill, Four Corners uncovers disturbing evidence of how China is effectively operating the world’s largest prison. 

 

 

“You have to watch the brainwashing program on TV in the detention centre.   In that room they put (a) chain onto my ankle, put the handcuffs on my hand.”  Australian Uyghur detainee

 

 

Even those still left in their homes are being monitored.   The communist regime is using cutting edge technology, mass surveillance tools and artificial intelligence to control an entire population.  

 

 

“Every 200 meters, there’s checkpoints. They check your IDs. They will check your smartphone.” Australian Uyghur

 

 

By piecing together witness accounts from Australian citizens caught up in the Chinese Government’s campaign, along with satellite imagery analysis and official documents uncovered online, the truth about what is occurring in Xinjiang is laid bare.

 

 

“I realised the magnitude and the impact… it was really something else.” Open source investigator

 

 

The program has uncovered evidence of detainees being forced to work in factories with implications for Australian companies doing business in the region.

 

 

“Western companies stand an increasing risk of having products made by forced or at least highly involuntary labour.”   Academic

 

 

The program will also reveal concerning evidence about Australia’s links to China’s dystopian surveillance state and the tools used to racially profile its own citizens.

 

 

“Essentially by doing that, we're being complicit in the human rights abuses that are occurring in Xinjiang and in China more widely.”  Surveillance researcher

 

 

The events unfolding in China are creating heartbreak for Uyghurs in Australia.   They have stayed quiet for fear of provoking the authorities into punishing their relatives.  Now, in desperation they are breaking their silence to tell the world what is going on.

 

 

“She said ‘If I am not released, cannot get out of here, please speak up for me.   Stand for me. Never give up’.” Uyghur Australian

 

 

“Now I have to speak out. I think Australians, all the Australia need to know this story.”  Uyghur Australian

 

Episode Teaser:
Xinjiang

Music

00:10

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Xinjiang in China’s northwest. A UN panel says the region resembles a “massive internment camp” – where more than one million Muslim minorities have been rounded up, detained and forcibly indoctrinated by the Chinese regime.

00:20

Turan

ADAM TURAN: All of us, many of us will cry when we're alone. We decided to talk about it, just tell the world, tell everyone what happened, what's been happen, what’s happening now.

00:48

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Australian citizens and permanent residents have been targeted and jailed here. Others are still trapped under constant surveillance, their passports seized.

01:04

Abudusalamu

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Every single people overseas lost someone in their family, and I’m one of the victims.

01:17

Satellite images

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Witness accounts, satellite imagery and Communist party documents reveal what appears to be largest imprisonment of people on the basis of religion since the Holocaust.

01:27

Leibold

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, Ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: This is an act of cultural genocide and one of the worst human rights abuses of our time.

 

 

01:42

Zenz

Dr Adrian Zenz, Independent researcher: I'm quite used to uncovering dirty secrets of the Chinese government, but when I realised the magnitude and the impact, the implications of what I found, it was, it was really something else.

01:47

McNeill to camera. Super:
SOPHIE MCNEILL

SOPHIE MCNEILL, reporter: Tonight, on Four Corners, China’s mass incarceration of its Muslim population and how it’s tearing Australian families apart. We expose the full extent of the communist party’s campaign of cultural extermination and why Australia can’t look away.

02:04

GFX Titles:
TELL THE WORLD

Music

02:25

Australian Uyghur community members hold up photos of missing family members

SOPHIE MCNEILL, reporter:  All around Australia, members of the Uyghur community are missing someone.

02:38

 

Everyone has a family member detained, incarcerated or trapped in Xinjiang. 

02:50

 

Many have stayed quiet, out of fear for their relatives. But now, in desperation, they are coming forward to tell their story.

02:57

Majid 100%. Super:
NURMUHAMMAD MAJID
East Turkistan Australian Association:

NURMUHAMMAD MAJID, East Turkistan Australian Association: My older brother, younger brothers and two younger sisters, five siblings were all taken by the Chinese government.

03:08

 

Masked police, heavily armed Special Forces police raided their home and taken them by covering their face and shackling them in front of the kids.

03:18

Turan 100%. Super:
ADAM TURAN

ADAM TURAN: They took my father and other brother and they detained them to the internment camps.

03:30

Abudusalamu 100%. Super:
SADAM ABUDUSALAMU

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: As a father, as a husband, most important thing is your wife and your kids and they are not with me.

03:39

 

Music

03:45

Abudusalamu on phone with children and wife

 

04:01

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Sadam Abudusalamu left Xinjiang to study in Australia ten years ago and became an Australian citizen in 2013.

04:16

 

NADILA: So how are, you are you ok?

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Yeah, I’m good how about you?

NADILA: I’m ok.

04:27

 

Is there any news about our case? When will you get us out?

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Soon, soon. Hopefully finalised soon.

04:31

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: He has never met his son Lutfy, who is almost two years old. The toddler is trapped in Xinjiang with Sadam’s wife Nadila.

04:40

 

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU Please don’t cry darling. Don’t cry bubba.

NADILA: Can you please find a way to get us out of here soon?

04:51

 

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: All right well, I love you.

NADILA: I love you.

05:03

Abudusalamu 100%

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: All I want is live a normal life like Australian. Stay with my son, stay with my wife. That’s all I want. What does it be so hard to bring my wife and my son here?

05:16

Ingle Farm Recreation Centre. Uyghurs community function

 

05:29

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: There are several thousand Uyghurs in Australia, Turkic speaking Muslims, many came to this country seeking asylum from communist party persecution.

05:39

 

Free to practice their religion here, in Xinjiang the Chinese government has effectively outlawed Islam.

05:59

Abudusalamu 100%

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Can't pray. Can't fast, need to speak Chinese in the school.

06:11

Sawut 100%. Suer:
NURGUL SAWUT
Australian Uyghur Association

NURGUL SAWUT, Australian Uyghur Association: The government come to that ridiculous point where actually they're controlling the way we look.  Men not allowed to have a beard, and a female not allowed to have scarf, even long dress.

06:15

Police with Uyghur men on street

Music

06:28

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The crackdown on Uyghurs followed decades of religious and separatist tensions…and after millions of Han Chinese were resettled in the region.

06:34

Byler 100%. Super:
DR. DARREN BYLER, Anthropologist, University of Washington

DR. DARREN BYLER, anthropologist, University of Washington: Uyghurs began to feel themselves being dispossessed of their land, dispossessed of their way of life.

06:48

Protests

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In July 2009, demonstrations broke out.

06:54

 

Nearly 200 people were killed, with reports that over 1000 Uyghurs were arrested. 

07:07

Troops in carriers

In response, Beijing rolled out what it called the ‘strike hard campaign’ in Uyghur areas.

07:18

Leibold 100%. Super:
ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, Ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, Ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: What it began to do is really systematically step up its police presence as well as its party infrastructure in Xinjiang, to begin to surveil the Uyghur population.

07:32

 

And so, some of them struck back in really horrific ways.

07:46

[Archival] Tiananmen car bombing

There is a suicide car bombing in Tiananmen, in Beijing.

07:49

[Archival] Kunming station attack

There was this attack on a train station in Kunming that left over 20 innocent train travellers massacred quite brutally.

07-55

Byler 100%

DR. DARREN BYLER, anthropologist, University of Washington: That's really when the rhetoric of terrorism really took off as, something you could use to label Uyghurs as a group, that they're all potentially terrorists and so, you know, using any means necessary is justified.

08:07

Driving shots. Xinjiang

Music

08:20

Xinjiang GVs/Surveillance cameras/Police presence

 

08:29

Photos. Sadam and Nadila

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In 2016, Sadam went back to Xinjiang to marry his girlfriend Nadila.

08:45

 

After their honeymoon to America and Turkey Nadila became pregnant.

08:58

 

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: We get the positive test.

 

 

 

 

09-05

Abudusalamu 100%. Super:
SADAM ABUDUSALAMU

She's pregnant. That's another best happiness moment for me.

I'm nervous, actually.

Like, I'm going to be dad, I'm going to have son.

I'm going to have baby.

I was nervous and happy.

09:08

Photos. Nadila pregnant

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Sadam came back to Australia in early 2017 for work, while Nadila waited in Xinjiang for her spouse visa to be approved.

09:22

Xinjiang. Soldiers. Mao statue in b/g

When Beijing suddenly launched its brutal new campaign.

09:32

Abudusalamu 100%

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Suddenly, she called me: "Our government starts taking people's passport.”

09:40

Xinjiang security checkpoint./Stills. Police interrogate Uyghurs

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Xinjiang essentially became the world’s largest open-air prison, with tight travel restrictions placed on Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

09:44

 

Eleven million Uyghurs were now a target.

10:00

Driving shots. Walled camps in distance

The first reports of citizens being rounded up and detained in camps started trickling through.

10:06

Stills. Camp exteriors

NURMUHAMMAD MAJID, East Turkistan Australian Association: In the community, we heard stories of people's direct messages of their family members were taken.

10:13

Majid 100%. Super:
NURMUHAMMAD MAJID
East Turkistan Australian Association

Everyone was panicking, everyone was trying to find out whether their family members were safe or not.

10:22

Still. Razor wire around camp

ADAM TURAN: We start to hear everyone's family being detained.

10:28

Turan 100%. Super:
ADAM TURAN

Like ordinary people, average people, their family members being detained and then I realised something is going on.

10:33

Mao statue. Xinjiang

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Uyghurs who had visited Muslim countries or had lived overseas were among the first targeted.

10:39

Abudusalamu 100%

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Whoever went to the Turkey, Saudi Arabia or any Muslim country, they're putting in the people to the jail or concentration camp.

10:49

Empty buildings

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, Ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: People started literally disappearing.

10:57

 

Communities were being emptied of adult men and women.

11:01

Newborn Lutfy. Sadam's son

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Sadam was prevented from being with Nadila when she gave birth – the Chinese consulate in Sydney refused to give him a visa.

11:12

Abudusalamu 100%

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU I wasn't there when he born.

11:22

 

I imagine how hard for Nadila to having a baby by herself. I wasn't staying next to her. So, it was so hard.

11:29

Abudusalamu on train

Music

11:39

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Not long after Lutfy was born, Sadam received terrible news. Security forces had arrived at Nadila’s family home.

 

 

 

11:43

 

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: I was on the train to the work. Then I get the message from my wife's friends saying, "Oh, your wife's been taken." I just quietly crying in the train. Even the people in train asking me, "What's happening? What's happening?" And I can’t tell them.

11:54

Abudusalamu 100%

The Chinese government took her and I don't know where.

12:12

Phone video. Nadila with Lutfy

Nadila: " Dada, I love you…

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: After two weeks, Sadam heard his wife had been released but Nadila remains trapped in Xinjiang with baby Lutfy – forbidden from travelling and living in fear of rearrest.

12:16

 

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: She's scared. She's always hoping, "please, let me out from here.”

12:38

Abudusalamu 100%

He's getting older and older. Every day passing, he doesn't know his dad.

12:43

Almas driving

Music

12:52

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In Adelaide, Sadam’s friend Almas, also received terrifying news from home. His wife Zainab had been taken.

12:56

Nizamidin 100%. Super:
ALMAS
Nizamidin

ALMAS Nizamidin: My wife been arrested by Chinese police. They dress in undercover, I think, there's more than eight or nine police officers.

13:08

Still. Zainab

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Zainab’s family witnessed security forces put a black hood over her head and bundle her into a van.  She was seven weeks pregnant.

13:18

 

ALMAS Nizamidin: I can't leave her like that, so I booked a flight ticket. Very next day, I left to Urumqi. So, I spent three months' time in Urumqi,

13:28

 

and then I only can get the information she has been arrested because of the reason she did study in Egypt.

13:44

Xinjiang camps

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Almas spent weeks in Xinjiang searching for his wife, before being summoned by the police.

13:51

Nizamidin 100%

ALMAS Nizamidin: They ask me to come to police station, talk to me face to face. And then when I went there, they gave me the piece of paper, say, I need to get out the country in 24 hours.

14:03

Still. Almas's mother

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: After Almas flew back to Australia, the Chinese security forces came for his fifty-year-old mother.

14:16

Nizamidin 100%

ALMAS Nizamidin She's a high school maths teacher. She's been work for Chinese government for thirty years.

14:27

Still. Almas's mother

They take her from the house.

14:33

Nizamidin 100%

The police officer come to the house and then knock the door and then arrest her.

14:36

Nizamidin sitting in car. Night.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In April, Almas received an email from an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra.

14:46

 

She informed him that the Chinese government had sentenced his wife to seven years in jail for the crime of “assembling a crowd to disturb social order.”

14:52

Still.  Zainab and Almas

ALMAS Nizamidin: And then they say that my wife was assembling a crowd. She can't even go shopping by herself. Like she’s very scared.

15:07

Nizamidin 100%

They arrest her like she did like assembling a crowd to disturb social order.  That's impossible.

 

15:17

Almas holds up photo of wife and mother

They kill my heart.  My wife, my mom, they're like so important for me.

15:25

Nizamidin 100%

it's my responsibility to protect them, but I couldn't protect them.

15:34

Satellite photos of camps

Music

15:41

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: At first, China tried to deny these camps existed. But using satellite imagery, a team of researchers and scholars across the globe have uncovered the evidence.

15:45

 

NATHAN RUSER, Satellite analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute: Essentially, you're looking for a large, highly securitised facility

16:00

Ruser 100%. Super:
NATHAN RUSER
Satellite analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

where almost every aspect of the movement inside these areas is completely restrained. 

16:03

Satellite photos of camps

You're looking for walls surrounding the whole facility with watchtowers on the edges of it and specifically you're looking for internal fencing, barbed wire, three-metre high fencing.

16:09

GFX Map. Xinjiang showing camps

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The scale of the mass internment program is chilling. Researchers have now identified and mapped nearly 100 suspected re-education camps and detention facilities across Xinjiang.

16:19

Zenz 100%. Super:
DR ADRIAN ZENZ
Independent researcher

DR ADRIAN ZENZ Independent researcher: It's basically clear that a huge percentage of the middle age range especially Uyghurs aged between 18 and 45 years, a very large percentage of them are in some form of internment or prison.

 

16:38

Zenz at computer

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Using regime documents that academics tracked down online, the full detail of what China is doing to its Muslim citizens is being revealed.

16:52

Zenz 100%

DR ADRIAN ZENZ Independent researcher: For example budget reports, government reports, work reports. Then also procurement bids, construction bids that were also very detailed that said, "We need a re-education camp built in this area and it needs to be this big and it needs to have surrounding walls, barbed wire, towers, surveillance equipment, cameras" and so on and so forth.

17:09

Byler 100%. Super:
DR DARREN BYLER Anthropologist, University of Washington

DR DARREN BYLER, Anthropologist, University of Washington: They were buying police batons, tasers, different instruments that could be used in torture, like cattle prods, stun guns, pepper spray, all these sort of things that you would find in a prison setting.

17:31

'Bitter Winter' excerpt

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: This footage filmed secretly by human rights activists shows the inside of these camps, cells fitted with double iron doors, keypad locks and cameras, walls covered with slogans praising Chinese President Xi Jinping and in the “classrooms” teachers separated from “students” by railings and wire.

17:48

Propaganda videos

These slick propaganda videos claim Uyghurs are happy with their re-education.

18:24

 

VIDEO [SUBTITLES]: If we were not saved before it was too late from being fooled I would have betrayed this great country.

18:36

 

VIDEO [SUBTITLES]:  I learned more about the law and I realised I was wrong.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The Chinese government

18:46

Propaganda poster

describes its new campaign as “breaking the roots” of extremists.

18:53

Byler 100%

DR. DARREN BYLER, Anthropologist, University of Washington: And so what they're doing when they say they want to break the roots, break the lineage is they want to eliminate the basic institutions, the basic elements of Uyghur culture, Uyghur society.

19:00

Still. Incarcerated men. Super:
Xinjiang Judicial Admin, WeChat

They're trying to transform the entire society.

19:11

Stills.  Hayrullah Mai

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Thirty-seven-year-old Melbourne plasterer Hayrullah Mai is one of three Australian citizens who have been jailed in Xinjiang. He’s speaking out for the first time.

19:22

Mai 100%. Super:
HAYRULLAH MAI

HAYRULLAH MAI: It's a bit hard to explain in my feeling at that time. Yeah, never been happen like that before in my life.

19:35

Sichuan Airlines planes, Chengdu airport

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In August 2017, while travelling on his Australian passport, Hayrullah was questioned and then detained at China’s Chengdu airport.

19:45

Mai 100%

HAYRULLAH MAI: When I go to that detention centre in Chengdu, they put chain onto my ankle, put on the handcuffs on my hand.  So, I just a bit shocked because I don't know what's the reason why they should to do this to me.

19:59

Close on hands being cuffed

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Hayrullah wasn’t allowed to call the Australian embassy or his family.

20:21

Planes, Chengdu airport

Security forces marched him onto a plane and flew him to Xinjiang.  He says he was brought here

20:29

Satellite photo, detention centre. Super: Google, DigitalGlobe

to this detention centre near Urumqi and put in a cell with around forty other men.

20:36

Mai 100%

HAYRULLAH MAI: Yeah, there is not enough space for you just to lie down properly and then turn around, something like that. You can’t do that.

20:46

 

We just sleeping two hours. After two hours, we wake up. And then we standing two hours, and then they wake up, you going to sleep, something like that.

20:54

Super: Reconstruction
Men in
indoctrination session

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Classified as a “potential terrorist”, each day the Australian citizen was forced to undergo six hours of indoctrination praising the Chinese communist party and president Xi Jinping.

21:03

 

HAYRULLAH MAI: You have to watch the brainwashing program on TV.

21:18

Mai 100%

There is TV in the detention centre in that room. That TV the people is talking about the communist party's rules and then that Xi Jinping is good, something like that.

21:26

Super: Reconstruction. Official visits Mai

Music

21:42

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: After two weeks Hayrullah says he received a visit from an Australian official who introduced himself as “Mark” from the Beijing Embassy.

HAYRULLAH MAI: He trying to ask the officials,

21:45

Mai 100%

Chinese officials, this guy asking me "why you guys put him to the detention centre and then lock him up about two weeks, more than two weeks, what's the reason?" And then the Chinese official says, "Still not time to answer to this question."

 

 

21:58

Stills. Mai, wife and stepson

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: A week later Hayrullah was released to be with his wife and his stepson. But authorities ordered him to leave Xinjiang and banned him from visiting for five years. Hayrullah’s wife was blocked from leaving with him.

HAYRULLAH MAI: She just kept saying,

22:18

Mai 100%

"Don't leave me alone. Don't leave me alone. Take me with you. I can't live without you."  That feeling is, you know, break my heart. I just left. Even I can't turn around and see her again because I from far away near the gate, I can see her just crying, crying.

22:43

Mai holds up photo of himself, wife and stepson

Music

23:22

Australian Uyghur community members hold up photos of missing family members

 

23:29

 

NURGUL SAWUT, Australian Uyghur Association: We are going through survivor's guilt here, and because we're living in a free country, and are safe and sound, yet we're living in this emotional prison. We are walking, but walking dead almost. That's how I can describe from our community's experience.

23:42

Sawut 100%. Super:
NURGUL SAWUT,
Australian Uyghur Association

We feel ashamed. We feel guilt, and because we can't do anything about to help them. We're doing what we can, but this is not good enough help to help them.

24:00

Turan hold up photos of father

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Adam Turan’s eighty-year-old father was among those rounded up and put in the camps.

24:12

Still. Turan with father

ADAM TURAN: He's been loyal to the Chinese government all his life. He just average ordinary Turkic speaking Uyghurs.

24:21

Turan 100%. Super:
ADAM TURAN

He never done anything against government.

24:33

Still. Turan's father

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Adam’s dad was detained for nearly a year. He was finally released last August but died only weeks later.

24:36

Turan 100%

ADAM TURAN: I couldn't call my mum or any of my family members and I don't even know if my dad had a funeral after his death.

24:49

Still. Turan with mother and father

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The last time Adam’s mum answered the phone she was at a police station – held for receiving calls from overseas.

ADAM TURAN: I used to call my mum like a few days every week.

25:02

 Turan 100%

She said, "Don't call me again, because I can't pick up your phone anyway." So that was my last talk with my mum. And I miss that every week. I try not to talk about it at home, but at breakfast table, my kids ask sometimes like, "Do you have parents?" It's hard to explain them what's going on.

25:17

Turan holds up photo of father

Music

26:15

Xinjiang Surveillance shots

 

26:22

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Even those not detained in camps are subjected to an extraordinary program of control.

26:35

 

Xinjiang has essentially become a huge lab to trial the latest surveillance technology, using artificial intelligence.

26:44

Nizamidin 100%. Super:
ALMAS Nizamidin:

ALMAS Nizamidin: Every two hundred metres, there is checkpoints. They check your ID's. They will check your smartphone.

26:56

Young men's phones being checked by police

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: They just put your phone and then they scan everything and if there's WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, anything

27:02

Abudusalamu. Super:
SADAM ABUDUSALAMU

religious scholar, speech, praying app, that kind of apps in your phone, you're in trouble.

27:11

Xinjiang security checkpoint

 

27:18

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Every Uyghur over 12 years old is forced to surrender their biometric data including voice, blood, DNA samples and iris scans.

27:20

Byler 100%. Super:
DR. DARREN BYLER, Anthropologist, University of Washington

DR. DARREN BYLER, Anthropologist, University of Washington: So they had to speak into a device in order to get a unique voice signature for each person and then they did a 3D face scan, which meant that you had to have your face scanned from all directions, making different expressions on your face, so that they would get a clear reading of all of your emotions.

27:35

Corporate video. Facial recognition technology

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: This corporate video shows off the latest advanced facial recognition technology being used in Chinese cities. The communist party is now using this to track Uyghurs – not just in Xinjiang but across the country. 

27:50

Byler 100%

DR. DARREN BYLER, Anthropologist, University of Washington: That's something that they're quite proud of that they can detect, racial difference or ethnic difference simply, you know, based on that appearance.

28:10

GFX. Facial recognition

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Four Corners can reveal that a researcher at an Australian university has been involved in developing methods to better identify ethnic minorities in China using AI. Curtin University Associate Professor 

28:18

Still Wangquan

Liu Wanquan has been working on Chinese government funded research that examines the faces of Uyghurs and how their features could be better picked up in facial scanning.

28:35

Leibold 100%. Super:
ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, Ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, Ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: It's racial profiling, that's essentially what this technology is being used for, to distinguish Uyghur from Han.

28:48

Super: Statement from Curtin University. On screen text:
'…
technical advice to the Chinese research team'

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The university says the associate professor was solely focused on the provision of “technical advice to the Chinese research team” and that Curtin

28:53

On screen text: 'unequivocally condemns the use of AI for any form of ethnic profiling to negatively impact and/or persecute any person or group.'

“unequivocally condemns the use of AI for any form of ethnic profiling” that would “negatively impact and/or persecute any person or group."

29:06

On screen text:
"…establish a working group to ensure… procedures for such research interactions are sufficiently clear and robust…"

However, Curtin has told Four Corners it is now reviewing its research approval procedures. 

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, Ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: They will say, “Well, this is my area of expertise.

29:17

Leibold 100%

Wow, I can use this stuff to identify a Uyghur as opposed to a Han. What the Party State does with it is not my responsibility.” Well, I think that's shameful and shocking.

29:28

 

I don't think Australian researchers should be involved in that, and it violates human ethics, without a doubt.

 

29:39

GFX. Data collection app.
Super:
Human Rights Watch

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The Chinese police also use an app to track the purchases, phone data and travel routines of Uyghurs.

29:46

Police look at citizens' phones

Human Rights Watch revealed that the app was developed by CETC, a Chinese state-owned military tech company.

29:56

McNeill to camera

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: In 2017, the University of Technology in Sydney signed a 10 million dollar deal with CETC to establish a research centre, that included projects on AI and surveillance. Four Corners can reveal that the university is now conducting an internal review into their partnership with the company.

30:10

Leibold 100%

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, Ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: I think the UTS and other universities here in Australia that have connections with any Party State company, particularly in the military or security sector, needs to end those contracts, and to pull out of those collaborative arrangements. I mean, essentially by doing that, we're being complicit in the human rights abuses that are occurring in Xinjiang and in China more widely.

30:33

Uyghur building demolition

Music

30:59

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Uyghur culture is being systematically erased.

31:07

Satellite pictures. Destruction of mosques in Xinjiang. Super:
Planet labs, Inc.

Using satellite imagery, it is possible to track the destruction of mosques in Xinjiang. Four Corners can confirm that this large mosque in Hotan was demolished just weeks ago.

31:16

 

Large areas of traditional Uyghur housing have also been wiped out.

 

31:40

Uyghur homes

NATHAN RUSER, Satellite analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute: You're seeing that being systematically demolished

31:50

Ruser 100%

and, in its place, is becoming high rise apartment buildings, which are a lot easy to control.

31:54

Uyghur camps. Children behind fence

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: There are grave fears for the children of the one million Uyghurs believed to be held in camps.

32:01

Video. Uyghur children singing

NURGUL SAWUT, Australian Uyghur Association: Those videos started leaked out, and we start seeing the orphanage,

32:13

Sawut 100%. Super:
NURGUL SAWUT, Australian Uyghur Association

and the people even identifying that some of their nieces and nephews actually inside of that orphanage.

32:22

Video. Uyghur children in kindergarten

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Official government documents reveal a mass increase in the building and upgrading of kindergartens and boarding schools in Xinjiang. Analysts say children are being deliberately separated from their families.

32:28

Byler 100%. Super:
DR. DARREN BYLER, Anthropologist, University of Washington

DR. DARREN BYLER, Anthropologist, University of Washington: What's happening to the children is that, if both parents are taken to the camps, often the children are removed from the community that they're a part of and they're placed in boarding schools or orphanages.

32:50

Still. Kindergarten

There's certainly been a massive increase in the building of nurseries and other education facilities for children.

33:03

Byler 100%

All Uyghur children are now in the process of re-education or, you know, Chinese assimilation.

 

33:09

 

Dr Adrian Zenz, Independent researcher: That's also how you inhibit what's called intergenerational transmission of culture and religion.

33:15

Zenz 100%. Super:
Dr Adrian Zenz, Independent researcher:

Meaning the parent's ability to pass on the cultural and the spiritual heritage to the next generation.  If you can control that, then you basically have control over the entire next generation of these ethnic groups.

33:25

Abudusalamu 100%. Super:
SADAM ABUDUSALAMU

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Why you're doing this to the babies? That's the thing scares me all the time. What's going to happen if I can't see my son again? That's the thing scare my wife as well.

33:41

Uyghur detainees working in clothing factory

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Meanwhile, inside the camps, parents are being put to work. Mounting evidence suggests a system of forced labour is emerging in Xinjiang. Last October, Chinese state television broadcast these detainees dutifully sewing at a camp in Hotan.

Dr Adrian Zenz, Independent researcher: I'm quite used to uncovering

33:58

Zenz 100%

dirty secrets of the Chinese government, but when I realised the magnitude and the impact, the implications of what I found, it was, it was really something else.

34:26

Zenz working on laptop, watching videos

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Adrian Zenz has been combing through official government documents and state media reports – and he’s found shocking new details of what’s happening behind camp walls.

4:38

 

Dr Adrian Zenz, Independent researcher: Basically, there's a huge scheme going on, a huge plan in Xinjiang to put all kinds of people into different forms of involuntary labour.

34:54

 

They're being moved around a bit like figures on a chess board, you know, and they're put into places where the government can control them.

35:03

 

This kind of cooperation is not voluntary, it's being enforced.

35:11

Uyghur detainees working in clothing factory

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Government propaganda reveals aspects of the new scheme. Here, a young Uyghur woman espouses the positives of her “new job.”

35:15

 

VIDEO [SUBTITLES]:  We had the chance to work in a garment factory. We learned how to operate the machines on our own.

35:27

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Documents show how detainee labour is being used to attract companies to set up shop in Xinjiang.

35:37

Zenz 100%

Dr Adrian Zenz, Independent researcher: For example, if a factory trains and then employs a camp detainee, they get 5,000 renminbi per worker over a course of three years. They also get intensive subsidies, for example they can use a factory building for free for the first two years.

35:46

 

The most sort of shocking or problematic aspect of this whole scheme in Xinjiang is that it's planned in such detail and enforced with such urgency.

36:05

Uyghur detainees working in clothing factory. Super:
Government video

VIDEO [SUBTITLES]:  I have rid myself of all extremist thought and reinvent myself.

Dr Adrian Zenz, Independent researcher: Those who are in the camps

 

 

 

36:18

Zenz 100%

are supposed to get jobs, permanent factory jobs.  The reason is that in these jobs the government can control them. They can't just take off, they're all together. It's very easy to control people in these environments, they also can't take off on Friday to go to the mosque, they also can't fast, they cannot do basic religious practise.

36:29

Gulnur Idreis holds up photo of detained sister

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The sister of Melbourne resident Gulnur Idreis is forced to work in one of these factories.

36:48

Still. Dilnur with child

Dilnur is a qualified nurse and mother of two children.

37:01

Still. Dilnur and family

In 2017 she and her husband were both arrested and sent to the camps.
GULNUR Idreis: My sister is a nurse.

37:07

Gulnur 100%. Super:
GULNUR IDREIS

She didn't know how to make the clothes.

37:15

Dilnur ID badge

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In May this year Dilnur was transferred from the camp to work for a textile manufacturer. Using her employee ID card,

37:22

Satellite pictures. Technology park, Urumqi Super:
Google, DigitalGlobe

we traced the company here to this technology park, 30 kilometres north of Urumqi.

37:31

Still. Dilnur's children

Dilnur told her sister she is only allowed home to see her children and parents once a week. Her husband is still missing.

GULNUR IDREIS: Is her husband still live or die,

37:40

Gulnur 100%

we don't know. What happened? If a bad thing happened, I don't know anything.

37:55

Gulnur with phone/GFX Notes on phone

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In June, after several months of no news, Gulnur received a disturbing video call.

38:01

 

It was Dilnur. Terrified of being monitored, she scribbled out a series of notes begging her sister in Melbourne to take the dangerous step of speaking out.

38:11

Gulnur

GULNUR IDREIS [SUBTITLES]: If I am not released, cannot get out of here, please speak up for me. Stand for me. Never give up. She wrote this down and showed it to me and I saw it.

38:26

GFX Notes on phone

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The notes described what she wanted Gulnur to tell the world.

38:40

On screen text:
"660 people are brought in shackled and handcuffed and it's big. They have no choice, if they say something, they will end up in jail."

"660 people are brought in shackled and handcuffed and it's big. They have no choice, if they say something, they will end up in jail."

38:49

Gulnur 100%

GULNUR IDREIS [SUBTITLES] They are using innocent people. They are not giving them any money and also their food is bad. They are torturing them in every way.

39:00

GFX Notes on phone

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Gulnur says her sister kept motioning that she wanted to end her life.

GULNUR IDREIS [SUBTITLES] She looked very exhausted and emotionally very distressed.

39:14

Gulnur 100%

I don’t know if what I say will come to anything.

39:32

GFX: Corporate logos over map

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Four Corners can reveal that these brands sold in Australia use cotton from Xinjiang.

39:39

 

Cotton On and Target Australia are now investigating their relationships with suppliers and factories there.

39:51

 

Cotton On even visited the region last September

39:58

Satellite pictures. Factories/Re-education camp. Super:
Google, DigitalGlobe

where their staff member met with a supplier. The factory is just six kilometres from a massive re-education camp.

Dr Adrian Zenz, Independent researcher: Western companies

40:05

Zenz 100%. Super:
Dr Adrian Zenz,
Independent researcher

stand an increasing risk of having products made by forced or at least highly involuntary labour somewhere in the supply chains. It’s going to become inevitable as the scheme is unfolding and getting bigger and bigger.

40:17

GVs Sadam, apartment.

Music

40:32

Sadam on apartment balcony

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: It has now been more than two years since Sadam has seen his wife Nadila. Lutfy will turn two in August and Sadam is desperate for him to be here for his birthday.

40:41

Sadam 100%. Super:
SADAM ABUDUSALAMU

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: I'm totally broke actually, like financially, mentally physically.  I used to be strong, big guy but this thing just totally ruined my life.

40:55

Passport office

 

41:06

Sadam holding passport. With Bradley

MICHAEL BRADLEY, Sadam’s lawyer: Look at that, so cute. He looks like both of you, you know.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU:  Hah, he looks like me.

MICHAEL BRADLEY, Sadam’s lawyer: You reckon? Yeah he does.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: After eight months of trying to secure Australian citizenship for his baby, Sadam and his lawyer are finally picking up Lutfy’s passport.

41:11

 

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Finally, he is an Australian citizen with Australian passport.

41:32

 

MICHAEL BRADLEY, Sadam’s lawyer: It’s a big step.

41:38

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Sadam hopes that he will be able to use it soon…and that Nadila can come, too. 

41:41

 

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: I just want to hold him.

MICHAEL BRADLEY, Sadam’s lawyer: I know. You are doing everything you can to get to that.

41:47

Chinese ambassador at Parliament House

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The Chinese ambassador made a rare public appearance three weeks ago at the Australia China Business Council networking day at Parliament House.

42:01

Ambassador addresses Australia China Business Council networking day. Super:
Cheng Jingye, China's Ambassador to Australia

Cheng Jingye, China's Ambassador to Australia: There are many reasons that underlie China’s magnificent achievements; the most fundamental one is the unswerving adherence to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

42:15

McNeill walks with ambassador

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: We tried to get answers from the Ambassador about what they’re doing to the Uyghurs.

42:28

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Why is the communist party doing this?

Cheng Jingye, China's Ambassador to Australia: No, it’s training and education centre to help people who are affected by radical ideas, ideology to better integrate.

42:35

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter:  What’s wrong with them, why do they need reintegration?

 

 

 

42:50

 

Cheng Jingye, China's Ambassador to Australia:  This is to find the jobs and to make a better living.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: They have jobs. Is it just because they are Muslim?

Cheng Jingye, China's Ambassador to Australia: No, no, no.

42:53

Ambassador departs

DR ADRIAN ZENZ Independent researcher: The end game, in my opinion, is very clearly the long-term survival and rule of the communist party.

43:07

Zenz 100%

This is being achieved by achieving complete ideological control over every part of China.

43:16

Uyghurs community members hold up photos

Beijing has declared the ultimate war on the religion and culture of these Turkic minorities in Xinjiang, and it's not going to rest until they will be lastingly changed forever.

43:22

 

Music

43:37

Adam Turan holds up photo of father

ADAM TURAN: I think that's why they're doing it, to systematically assimilate us into Chinese society.

43:45

Turan 100%

I think they want us to eat like Chinese, walk like Chinese or live like Chinese or die like Chinese.

43:52

Uyghurs community members hold up photos

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, Ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: If you look at the legal definition of genocide, it has to be systematic, it has to be intentional.

43:59

Leibold 100%

This is an act of cultural genocide and one of the worst human rights abuses of our time.

44:08

Almas Nizamidin 100%

ALMAS Nizamidin: So I'm asking government to help me to ask the Chinese government to release my mum, my wife and bring them to me.

44:13

Nizamidin holds up photo

Every day, every day, every single hour. I can't even sleep on the night-time.

44:23

Almas Nizamidin 100%

That's my life now. There's not any happiness. I can't enjoy anything.

44:33

Sadam holds up photo

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU Maybe they're going to take her again, just because of I'm speaking out.

44:44

Sadam 100%

I've got no other option left. I've done everything. I speak with the Home Affairs. I speak with the foreign ministers. I speak with the, trying to talk with the Chinese authorities, bribe them, but still, there is nothing happening in past two years.

44:54

Sadam holds photo

So now I have to speak out.  And Australians, I think Australians, all Australia needs to know this story.

45:09

 

 

45:21

 

CREDITS

 

reporter

SOPHIE MCNEILL

 

producer

JEANAVIVE MCGREGOR

 

researcher

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS

MICHAEL WALSH

ECHO HUI

BANG XIAO

 

editor

MICHAEL NETTLESHIP

 

additional editing

JAMES BRAYE

 

camera

RON FOLEY

 

additional

LOUIE EROGLU ACS

GREG ASHMAN

CHRIS ALBERT

GREG NELSON

 

sound

ROB MACKAY

 

additional sound

TONY HILL

ANDREW TIMLIN

Richard McDermott

 

drone

Neale Maude

 

satellite research

NATHAN RUSER, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

 

archive producer

MICHELLE BADDILEY

 

designer

Andrew McKenzie

 

legal

Jennifer Arnup

Deborah Auchinachie

 

digital producer

BRIGID ANDERSEN

 

digital designer

GEORGINA PIPER

 

social media producer

TIM WILFORD

 

publicity

Paul Akkermans

 

promotions

LAURA MURRAY

 

sound mixer

EVAN HORTON

 

colourist

SIMON BRAZZALOTTO

 

post production

JAMES BRAYE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

additional vision

WALL STREET JOURNAL

FRANCE 24

BBC

BITTER WINTER

REUTERS

AP

AFP

GETTY

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

 

map data

PLANET LABS, INC

Google, DigitalGlobe

 

theme music

RICK TURK

 

titles                                        

LODI KRAMER

 

program assistant

LYDIA CHU

 

production manager

WENDY PURCHASE

 

supervising producer

MORAG RAMSAY

 

executive producer

SALLY NEIGHBOUR

 

 


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Australian Broadcasting Corporation
© 2019

 

 

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