This isn't how you'd picture a Chinese internment camp. Last week, Chinese officials took Reuters on a tour of three of what they call vocational centers for Muslim Uighur minority residents. China says this is a highly successful de-radicalization program. But the UN and rights groups say a million or more Uighurs are held in massive internment camps in Xinjiang in dire conditions.
And there has been global outcry. Reuter's Ben Blanchard tells us what he saw.>> These were most likely chosen for us because they are model camps. They are certainly very different from the kinds of camps that we have previously visited on non-official government trips or at least that we've seen from the outside.
And also some of the previous residents that we've spoken to again on a non-authorized visit have described conditions in the camp very, very different to what we saw when we went with the government. When I talked to these people, some of the questions that I asked was are you willing to be here?
Everybody told me, of course, that they were willing to be there. That they come there voluntarily. A lot of people use very similar wording. They talked about how they had been infected by extremist thinking or infected by religious extremist thinking. A few people told me that they'd gone there because they'd gone to illegal religious gatherings and at these illegal religious gatherings they had been told that they had to as Muslim women it was their responsibility to wear face veils.
A man that I spoke to he told me that he'd been told by a friend that is a Muslim, he shouldn't really have any interactions with any non-Muslims and so he had refused to serve non-Muslims who'd come into his shop. There's a very strong emphasis on learning Mandarin.
They also have sort of legal education which is where they're basically told, these are the laws of China. They also do have specific de-radicalization classes in which they're told, for example because this is something that I heard in one of the classes, that it is extremist thinking not to be allowed to sing or to dance at a wedding or not to be allowed to cry at a funeral.
Some of the students are very closely chaperoned visits. Some of the officials said to me look, we're doing such a good hot job here that you and the west should really be learning from us.