"To fully understand what has been taking place in Xinjiang the role of criminal proceedings is an important part of the picture."

In February 2022, The Rights Practice publishes important new report, "(Ab)use of Law. Criminal Proceedings in Xinjiang." We explain how China is using its powers to deprive persons of their liberty in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and the (il)legality of those powers under both Chinese and international law. China has become more assertive on the world’s stage. Insight into the use and abuse of law in XUAR adds to our knowledge of how China under Xi Jinping deploys the law and judicial institutions with implications well beyond the region. 

The report draws on our Working Paper "Criminal Law and Deprivation of Liberty: Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region" published August 2021 which examined Chinese law and 2013 to 2020 data from Xinjiang. 

A widespread and systematic deprivation of liberty is taking place among Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang. This report explains the two types of detention being used: administrative and criminal. The detention of Uyghurs in internment camps or so-called ‘vocational education and training centres’ is an administrative measure bypassing judicial decision making. This has enabled the rapid and largescale detention of Uyghurs. Criminal proceedings, on the other hand, normally entail more cumbersome decision making involving the police, procuratorate and courts but then enable lengthy prison terms. 

We provide recommendations to the international community including to maintain a robust, informed and sustained challenge to China's actions at the United Nations and to strengthen work on atrocity prevention across governments and civil society.

Download the full report here.