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Torture, harsh interrogations and a brutal daily regime of communist indoctrination. Those are just some of the claims from people who've been locked up in a series of Chinese internment camps in the country's western region of Xinjiang. Most of those locked up in the camps are Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic group in Xinjiang.
In 2014, Beijing launched what they called the people's war on terror here after a series of violent attacks that authorities blamed on Uighur extremists. For years later the UN says as many as a million Uighurs along with Muslims from other ethnic groups, are being detained in camps like this.
And now Reuters has used satellite images and interviews with former detainees to piece together the scale of the Xinjiang camps. Reuters Philip Wen recently travelled to the region.>> What we've been told through people that have been detained and their family members is that quit often the trigger if you like for being sent to arrange
Center is quit large.
It could include something as small as having visited a foreign country or having lived in a foreign country, for example in the Middle East, or even other countries where there are Muslims.>> The Reuters investigation plotted the expansion of 39 camps in Xinjiang. It's revealed a rapid expansion of the camps, the built up area has nearly tripled in the 17 months to August.
And attended documents for the construction work revealed items like God houses and surveillance systems that leave quote no blind spots. This Pakistani Mann's Chinese wife was taken to one of the candidates. She sits been released but he says Chinese authorities have taken her passport and she's still stuck in Xinjiang with her four year old son.
> Xinjiang set up these training centers as an anti-terorrism measure to help the people affected by terorrism to stay away from extremism by means of training.
One former detainee described brutal interrogations from Chinese security guards.>>
They've driven some detainees to take their own lives, according to people who've being detained in the camps. Beijing calls the camps vocational training centers. And Chinese officials have hit back at the international outcry, since the UN revealed their existence.>>
We cannot just wait until they become a member of a terorrist group.>> But rights organizations say the situation in Xinjiang is less a battle against extremism and all about Beijing's ultimate political control. Academics say Xinjiang is now one the most heavily policed areas in the world. The old city of Kashgar once known as a prime example of Islamic architecture now bristles with surveillance cameras.
And one local told Reuters the young men in his village have almost completely disappeared