In the name of a “People’s War on Terror,” the government of China has waged a campaign of repression against largely Muslim minorities in the province of Xinjiang, arbitrarily detaining as many as 1 million people in a network of prison facilities where torture and forced labor are routine, a leading human rights group said Monday.

In a 53-page indictment of the Chinese state, Human Rights Watch detailed a policy of mass incarceration, torture, disappearances, and cultural erasure in Xinjiang. Located in the westernmost part of the country, the province is home to a largely Uyghur population of Turkic Muslims in a nation that is overwhelmingly Han Chinese.

Although China’s government is generally authoritarian, HRW said it was especially repressive toward its Muslim population. Hundreds of thousands of people, it said, have been forced into political reeducation camps, with those outside subject to suffocating police surveillance — a million state employees have slept in the homes of Xinjiang residents — and cultural erasure, with the state dictating everything from appropriate facial hair to the names of one’s children.

“Chinese authorities have systematically persecuted Turkic Muslims — their lives, their religion, their culture,” Sophie Richardson, HRW’s China director, said in a statement. “Beijing has said it’s providing ‘vocational training’ and ‘deradicalization,’ but that rhetoric can’t obscure a grim reality of crimes against humanity.”

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