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What folks don't understand is that teaching is a hard job. Especially when the students in the re-education camps are religious types. And those types can get frustrated when they have cameras on them 24 hours a day. And might share a cell--that is, a dorm room--with 10 or 20 other students. And some of their roommates might be spies.

So, yes, sometimes the Red Chinese have to recruit teachers to teach in their vocational centers. And what better way to recruit than to find a teacher at her home in the middle of the night, throw a bag over her head, and carry her off in cuffs?

A woman named Sayragul Sauytbay has been talking to the papers recently. She was featured in an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette story this week. She's been featured in stories by The New York Times and the Associated Press. Which means she can never go back to mainland China again.

The escapee is telling the story about the Uighurs in China. And what a story it is. But she really should try to see things from Beijing's point of view.

The Uighurs are religious minorities, and Muslims at that. They believe in a higher authority than The Party, and some of them are bad actors. So the Chinese--at least the Chinese authorities--have declared a People's War. Those with fresh mouths might ask if there's another kind, but not near the China-Kazakh border, where they know how to deal with those who talk back.

The Chinese government says it is not running concentration camps. The rules for these camps were leaked to the western media last week, and the rules don't refer to prisoners, but students. Guardhouses are built, sure, but only for student protection. Also, the students who are brought to these camps--millions of them--can be let out, eventually, for good behavior. Unless they have background or family problems. Or don't learn the country's official language. Or don't do well in class. Or don't impress their teachers.

Speaking of teachers, it's difficult to find good help, so the authorities find folks like Sayragul Sauytbay and compel them to teach in these camps. For her part, Sayragul Sauytbay complains about torture and propaganda and brainwashing and forced medication that drug many students into acquiescence. But aren't they more apt to learn when they're mellow?

Sayragul Sauytbay lives in Sweden now, where she was given asylum. Western reporters have been telling her stories to western readers.

She was taken to a prison--that is, a school--and forced to sign a document that said she wasn't allowed to laugh, cry or talk to any of the people there. So you can imagine how difficult it'd be to teach there. Thus the aggressive recruiting.

These students--who are definitely not prisoners--have their shackles taken off whenever they need to write, Mrs. Sauytbay admits. And there is fun time scheduled into every day, when the students are required to memorize Communist Party songs such as "Thank you to the Communist Party" and another particular song that must be a real hit with the kids, "I love Xi Jinping." Whoever writes these ditties isn't subtle.

Also, there's a spiritual element. According to Mrs. Sauytbay: "Between 4 and 6 p.m., the pupils had to think about their sins. Almost everything could be considered a sin, from observing religious practices and not knowing the Chinese language or culture to immoral behavior. Inmates who did not think of sins that were severe enough or didn't make up something were punished."

The government in Beijing says stabilization is the key, and things have been better in the province since these schools have been opened. The government answered some of these allegations through its embassy in the UK: "Since the measures have been taken, there's no single terrorist incident in the past three years. Xinjiang is much safer . . . . The so-called leaked documents are fabrication and fake news."

You see, these measures have improved things. And these measures never happened anyway.

The Chinese government is always looking to make things easier on folks. And who doesn't like efficient government? So it is now using AI in its efforts to clean up parts of the country that need it, good and hard.

From Monday's paper: "With the help of mass-surveillance technology, computers issue the names of tens of thousands of people for interrogation or detention in just one week, including university students and party officials who wouldn't need vocational training."

Those include folks who've talked on phones with people outside the country, or pray before eating, or grow a beard. The cameras pick up everything. Which is good if you're trying to improve people. Or a culture.

As it was put by ChiCom officials in these leaked documents now making the rounds: The Ministry of Justice will "wash brains, cleanse hearts, support the right, remove the wrong."

And if western writers don't understand, they just need to read more Orwell.

Editorial on 11/26/2019

Print Headline: Cultural revolution, II


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