A security contractor group named Frontier Services Group is reportedly opening a training base in the Chinese western region of Xinjiang. According to the Washington Post, the Chinese government is holding about 1 million Muslims in “extrajudicial detention camps” throughout the region as part of a campaign to “sinicize” the area. The story also reported that this region is home to the ethnic minority of the Uighur which is a largely Muslim population.
The security contractor group also causes for concern because it is led by Erik Prince, founder of the controversial group Blackwater and brother to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
“Mr. Prince is a minority shareholder in FSG and deputy chairman. He had no knowledge or involvement whatsoever with this preliminary memorandum regarding the company’s activity in Xinjiang. Any potential investment of this nature would require the knowledge and input of each FSG board member and a formal board resolution.” -Marc Cohen, FSG spokesman
It has been reported that the training bases are intended to train about 8,000 people per year with FSG investing about $6 billion. However, great concern still remains as to the activities occurring in the region since many believe the detainments are the Chinese government’s way of “diluting” the culture of the Uighur. Not only this but previous controversy with Prince’s Blackwater company involving the killing of civilians in Baghdad also raises worry about the intentions of involved parties.
“Former detainees who have reached safety have spoken of relentless indoctrination and harsh conditions. For example, praying and other religious practices are forbidden. The apparent goal is to force detainees to renounce Islam and embrace the Chinese Communist Party.” -Scott Busby, deputy assistant secretary of state for human rights.