Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 7, July 2019
A Uyghur woman holds her son outside her house in the Kashgar old town, northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. Kashgar is located in the north western part of Xinjiang province where nearly 10 million Muslim Uyghurs are living. It is considered as the crossroads linking China to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, the city has changed under Chinese rule with government development, unofficial Han Chinese settlement to the western province, and restrictions imposed by the Communist Party. The central government of China says it sees Kashgar’s development as an improvement to the local economy, but many Uyghurs consider it a threat that is eroding their language, traditions, and cultural identity. The discord has created a separatist movement that has sometimes turned violent, starting a crackdown on what Chinese government see as ‘terrorist acts’ by religious extremists. Tension has increased with lot more security in the city including restrictions at mosques, after closing and removing most of them in the Xinjiang province, the Chinese authorities have also restricted to the women to wear veils and the young men to grow beards. Source: Flickr.
Independent Researcher 
In spring 2017, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) under its new Party secretary Chen Quanguo embarked on an unprecedented internment campaign. Subsequently, up to 1.5 million predominantly Turkic minorities (notably Uyghur and Kazakh) were swept into different types of political re-education, detention and “training” camps.
About half a year after the onset of this horrifying campaign, first reports started to emerge that the children of so-called “double-detained” parents were being placed in state care. Due to a complete lack of official reporting and the state’s denial that this internment campaign is even taking place, it has been extremely difficult to ascertain the scale and exact nature of such intergenerational separation. Some informants claim to know that these children are kept in orphanages. Others, including some of the affected parents, were told that they are being sheltered in regular public schools with boarding facilities. This includes boarding preschools that can care for children who are younger than the regular school age.
The possibility that the Chinese state is implementing a larger-scale or even systematic policy of intergenerational separation of parents and children is a highly emotional topic among the affected exile communities. Few issues have the potential to inspire more concern about cultural or physical state-sponsored genocide than this one. Notably, Xinjiang’s government appears to be as nervous about the children’s situation as they are about the internment camps. When Associated Press (AP) reporters went to Hotan City’s “Kindness Kindergarten”, which reportedly shelters four children of one of their Uyghur informants and photographed the facility, they were immediately surrounded by armed police and ordered to delete their visual evidence.
In the context of this urgent human rights crisis and challenging research context, this article attempts to systematically present and analyze all available evidence regarding state-initiated intergenerational separation in the context of Xinjiang’s political re-education and internment campaign. This evidence consists of government policy and implementation directives, different kinds of official reports and related state or private media articles, educational statistics, public construction and procurement bids, village-based work team reports, and official propaganda pieces that extol the benefits of the so-called “vocational training”.