The Xinjiang Data Project

Explainers

Xinjiang Data Project first quarterly update.

Nathan Ruser

An overview of the updates on the website since its launch.
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    In the three months since our Xinjiang Data Project’s interactive map was launched, we have continued to update the website and the database. As new information comes to light and additional satellite evidence is explored, we will continue to update the site with new findings.

    Nearly 5,000 words of new explanatory text has been added since the project was launched which includes providing more information on over 100 detention facility sites. In addition, eleven new facilities have been added to the database, and six have been removed. This means the database has grown from 380 to 385 sites.

     

    On the map we have added several thousand translated place names in English (3,400) and Uyghur-che (7,200), with the considerable assistance of volunteers from the Uyghur community who wish to remain anonymous, and Shahit.biz.

    These new translations appear on the base-map at our website and are available to view and download here. These English translations are largely from Shahit.biz and we thank them for all the effort they have put into translating place names.

    More substantive updates to the data on the site have focused on the list of suspected detention facilities in Xinjiang.

    Nearly 5,000 words of new explanatory text has been added since the project was launched which includes providing extra information on over 100 detention facility sites. Another hundred photos have been added to show the detention facilities more clearly, and adding supporting evidence, such as tender evidence or photos from the ground.

    The database has grown from 380 to 385 sites.
    Xinjiang Data Project

    In addition, eleven new facilities have been added to the database, and six have been removed.

    Of the eleven new facilities, five are newly built detention facilities discovered through satellite analysis.

    Four are previously known detention sites that have not visibly expanded since 2017. These were excluded from our initial list owing to the uncertainty that they were in active use in the post-2016 crackdown. Subsequent victim testimony has substantiated their use as a part of the Chinese government’s re-education program in Xinjiang for re-education detainees during this time. One was demolished in 2019 and its detainees moved elsewhere. Two are detention facilities directly identified by victim testimony which could not be determined as a detention facility using satellite imagery analysis alone.

    One of the new detention sites added, Poskam Facility #5
    Maxar/Google Earth
    SOURCE

    An additional 16 points of interest are currently under investigation as suspected detention facilities, but additional satellite imagery is required to substantiate this classification.

    These remain unpublished in our dataset.

     

    A site of interest where more satellite imagery is required to determine whether or not the location is a detention facility.
    Maxar/Google Earth
    SOURCE

    Of the six facilities taken off the database, four were duplicate sites – where a facility was inadvertently marked with two points.

    The other two represent sites picked up in an internal review of the database that we no longer believe function as detention facilities.

    The site erroneously identified as a detention facility in our database, under construction.
    Maxar/Google Earth
    SOURCE
    The facility upon completion.

    We continue to invite engagement with our research and will update the dataset when we find, or are presented with, new information.