No, new Xinjiang legislation does not legalize detention centers

A lot of recent news reporting and commentary has been saying that recent Xinjiang legislation has legalized the mass detention centers there (not necessarily approvingly, of course), but it just ain’t so. I explain why in this Lawfare post.

Posted in: Law

5 thoughts on “No, new Xinjiang legislation does not legalize detention centers”

  1. Fine legal analysis, but how is it not “a distinction without a difference”? The purposes set forth in Chapter III are clear and unambiguous. Chapter IV, Articles 16 through 31, delegate authority to a wide swath of governmental departments in all operative areas of society to take all effective measures to implement the overall de-extremification. In this totalitarian society where “picking quarrels” provides a legal (or arguably non-legal?) basis for a lengthy prison term, generally preceded by detention, then formal arrest, with interrogation and physical torture occurring before and after formal arrest, and throughout the prison sentence, it appears that the de-extremification regulation provides a very sound theoretical basis for the establishment of such concentration camps to implement the officially-desired goal.

    1. Xinjiang simply does not have the authority in the Chinese legal system to authorize “all effective measures”. Some measures, such as detention, require legislation from the NPC or the NPC Standing Committee.

    1. My post is not directed at the powers that be. It is for people who are interested in the issue of whether the Xinjiang measures do, in fact (as many commenters have said), legalize the detention camps under Chinese legal standards. You are free not to be interested in that question, but if not, you are sure spending a lot of time commenting on it.

  2. My clients are those kinds of people detained in such facilities and their subsequent flight from such persecution. I do appreciate the distinctions you raise. The practical effects of such detentions on them, and the totalitarian system that often treats its laws as irrelevant, or selectively interprets and applies its laws, however, is of greater relevance to them.

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