Room for 10,000: Inside China’s largest detention center

International News

A security officer in a protective suit gestures as other officers stand at a reception area at the visitors’ hall at the Urumqi No. 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

DABANCHENG, China (AP) — China’s largest detention center is twice the size of Vatican City and has room for at least 10,000 inmates.

The Associated Press was the first Western media allowed in during a state-led tour of Urumqi No. 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in the far western region of Xinjiang.

The Uyghur inmates inside sat in uniform rows with their legs crossed in lotus position and their backs ramrod straight, numbered and tagged.

No. 3 was converted from an internment camp into a pre-trial detention facility, the AP found, in what appears to be an attempt to move Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities into a more permanent prison system justified under the law.

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