China says internment camps are ‘free vocational training’

BEIJING (AP) — A senior Chinese official is describing the mass internment of ethnic minority Muslims in the country’s far west as a system of training centers that saves Muslims from religious extremism by teaching them to speak Mandarin and accept modern science.

It was a rare instance of the ruling Communist Party publicly detailing its vision of what the extrajudicial detention of an estimated 1 million ethnic minority Uighur (WEE-gur) and Kazakh Muslims is setting out to achieve.

Shohrat Zakir, governor of the Xinjiang region, said in a report by the official Xinhua News Agency Tuesday that the centers also train people to work in factories.

Former detainees have told The Associated Press that they were held in camps where they were forced to recite party slogans and renounce their faith.