Police officers in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, May 2021
Thomas Peter / Reuters

Starting in late 2017, Uyghur and Kazakh émigrés from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China began hearing frightening reports from relatives and friends at home—or began losing contact with those relatives and friends entirely. Through early 2018, journalists and researchers began to flesh out the story: in the vast Central Asian territory annexed by China in 1949, also known to many exiles as Eastern Turkestan, the government was rounding up people who do not belong to the country’s Han ethnic majority (including the Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group) and locking them in camps. At their peak, these facilities interned

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