Feb 26, 2021
Published in: Tearline website (2021)
Posted on RAND.org on February 26, 2021
A growing body of research has systematically documented Chinese efforts to imprison, detain, and re-educate ethnic Uyghur and minority groups throughout its western Xinjiang province. In this three-part investigation, RAND researchers explore new data on nighttime lighting in Xinjiang to offer new, empirical insights into China's efforts to reeducate, detain, and imprison its Uyghur and ethnic minority populations across Xinjiang.
This first report introduces our methodological approach and uses nighttime lighting data to investigate the rapid, coordinated growth of detention facilities in Xinjiang over the last decade. It captures the speed and scope with which China's detention campaign escalated beginning in 2016, an inflection point after which growth in Xinjiang's detention facilities would accelerate rapidly over the course of a multi-year campaign through early 2019.