Xinjiang: China, where are my children?

"New evidence that children in China's Xinjiang region are being systematically separated from their families has been uncovered in research commissioned by the BBC. Critics of China's government claim it's an effort to isolate the children from their Muslim communities. More than 60 parents, speaking in exile, have told the BBC their children have disappeared." This video shares some of their stories. Many Uighurs have fled to Turkey, where the BBC was able to interview families whose children and other family members had gone missing. "I heard they were taken to an orphanage," says one mother. "I don't even know whether they're alive," says another. In attempts to find the missing family members of these interviewees, the BBC searched the family homes and other areas in Xinjiang but found only signs of "a giant vanishing and the shattering of countless families"

The video describes how the Chinese government has constructed "protection centers" and boarding schools, which house hundreds of children, one school even sleeping a thousand, from the Uighur, Kazakh, and other Muslim minority groups in Western China. Adults from these groups in Xinjiang, which have their own languages and cultures, have also been placed into high security facilities, or camps, where they are taught Chinese. The schools for the children of detainees featured in this short video are surrounded with barbed wire and security cameras and have signs reading "only Chinese should be spoken." Furthermore, "there is evidence to suggest there is now a deliberate policy to separate children from their roots," says the BBC. Children in these boarding schools are being made to wear traditional Chinese dress and are given "severe penalties" for speaking a language other than Chinese. "The Xinjiang government is attempting to gain full control over the young generation to literally raise a new generation that has been cut off from original roots, from religious beliefs, from cultural knowledge, even from their own languages," says an independent researcher. "I believe the evidence really points to what we must call cultural genocide."

Meanwhile, according to the video, government officials in Xinjiang do not believe that these family separations will have a psychological impact on the children.