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As lawyers, we have long provided pro bono assistance to asylum seekers fleeing repression from all corners of the world, including El Salvador, Venezuela, Africa and Tibet. Most recently we have encountered the egregious plight of Uyghur Chinese nationals whose culture, identity and religion are being systematically eradicated on a scale to rival what has already taken place in Tibet.

Experts have compared the huge, recently developed detention centers in Xinjiang, the historical homeland of the Uyghur people in China’s far west, to both Mao’s labor camps and the camps of World War II. Satellite images have illustrated the mushrooming growth of these camps. Publicly sourced documents from China state that to achieve their purpose of converting detainees into “new, better Chinese citizens,” the centers must first “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins.” Recent estimates suggest that nearly 10 percent of the Uyghur population of Xinjiang province is incarcerated in detention centers.

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