CHILLING drone footage shows Chinese police officers moving hundreds of blindfolded and shackled prisoners to “re-education camps”.
The video alleges the aerial clip reveals “the long-term suppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.
The footage, which could not be independently verified, was published to YouTube last week by a newly created account calling itself War on Fear. Clips were also posted to Twitter by the handle @warcombatfear.
“Our aim is to fight fear,” the video description said.
“The people of today’s society always live under the supervision of the government with high technology. People lose their freedom.
“The leaders of the Communist Party of China called them patriotic and loved the people. In fact, they only love the party and only love power.”
It added: “These videos were taken in China. This is the long-term suppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Chinese government in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.”
A European security source told Sky News they believe the clip is real and may have been taken earlier this year, adding, “we’ve examined the footage and believe it to be genuine”.
The source went on: “It shows up to 600 prisoners being moved.
“They’re shackled together, have shaved heads, are blindfolded and have their hands locked behind their backs. This is typical of the way the Chinese move this type of prisoner.”
Nathan Ruser, a researcher with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre, who has previously analysed satellite data to map China’s “re-education” camps, also believes the footage is genuine.
Ruser, who posted his analysis on Twitter, identified the location of the video as Bayingol, Xinjiang.
But he believes it was actually filmed around August 20 last year.
Ruser wrote: “International warrants have been granted to prosecutors on the basis of social media videos which have been verified in such a manner.”
He believes the video showed hundreds of detainees “at a train station in Xinjiang”.
UN experts and activists say at least one million ethnic Uighurs, and members of other largely Muslim minority groups, have been detained in camps in the region of western China.
Beijing describes the camps as vocational training centres to help stamp out religious extremism and teach new work skills.
The Uighurs are ethnically Turkic Muslims, and about 11 million of them live in western China.
Most people sent to mass detention centres in China’s Xinjiang region have “returned to society”, a senior official from the area told Reuters in July this year.
“ARBITRARY DETENTION OF UIGHURS”
But he declined to give an estimate of how many have been imprisoned in recent years.
Chinese authorities limit access for independent investigators.
Foreign journalists have reported personal accounts of some former internees, and photographed sprawling prison-like facilities surrounded by razor wire and watch towers.
Twenty-two nations have signed a letter to the UN Human Rights Council criticising Beijing’s treatment of Uighurs and calling on the Chinese government to “end its mass arbitrary detentions and related violations against Muslims in the Xinjiang region”.
The Chinese Communist Party has previously compared Islam to an “infectious disease”.
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It also said in an official recording obtained by Radio Free Asia that “members of the public who have been chosen for re-education have been infected by an ideological illness.”
“Being infected by religious extremism and violent terrorist ideology and not seeking treatment is like being infected by a disease that has not been treated in time, or like taking toxic drugs,” the recording said.
“There is no guarantee that it will not trigger and affect you in the future.”
A version of this story first appeared in News.com.au