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One-Line Summary

Buzzfeed’s supposed 10,000-Uighur detention camp is 3 times smaller than Rikers Island, a prison for 10,000 Americans.

Long Read

I’m sure you’ve all heard the narrative on Xinjiang. China holds one million Uighurs in concentration camps. It’s an enormous human rights violation and proof China is evil, unlike that shining light of moral rectitude and purity the United States (which would never, ever, ever do anything to harm Muslims).

10,000 Chinese in Jail

Recently Buzzfeed came out with an article about Xinjiang showing big scary images of Chinese concentration camps:

I came and found the structure on Google Maps:

10,000 Americans in Jail

Now, in my previous post, I referred to Rikers Island. Rikers Island is New York City’s biggest prison. According to Wikipedia, “The average daily inmate population on the island is about 10,000, although it can hold a maximum of 15,000.”

(A side-note, but I have nothing against Rikers. As an island, it is simply easy to use for comparison purposes.)

Rikers Island Prison (10,000 Americans)

You may notice the arrows in both images. These point to the Google Maps scale of 500 feet. This means that these images are exactly the same size.

I included the Google Maps details to provide proof of authenticity. In order to further prove the authenticity of the Xinjiang image, I have uploaded the following video of it on Google Maps: https://streamable.com/bg4bi9

Rikers Island can be found by simply searching for it on Google Maps (make sure to zoom in to 500 feet): https://www.google.com/maps/place/Rikers+Island

These complex satellite images and videos hopefully dispel any doubt of authenticity.

Three Times Smaller

We have a supposed Xinjiang detention camp with 10,000 people, according to The Economist.

We also have an American prison with 10,000 people.

Let’s compare:

10,000 Americans in jail VERSUS 10,000 Chinese in jail

Hmm…10,000 Americans sure seem to take up a lot more space than 10,000 Chinese.

In fact, eyeing the photo, it seems that Rikers Island is more than three times as big as the supposed Kashgar jail.

(Feel free compare the images with an image editor. I guarantee that you will find that none of the dimensions have been changed.)

Ten Miles From Kashgar (One Million People)

You may have noticed the word “Kashgar” appear several times, rather than “Shufu.” What’s going on?

After all, Buzzfeed says:

Even as reporters were scribbling down his remarks, about 2,500 miles away in Xinjiang, construction was wrapping up on a massive high-security compound near the Uighur heartland county of Shufu, just south of a winding river that flows through a countryside dotted by livestock farms. Shufu is small by Chinese standards, with a population of about 300,000 people. It has a main drag with a post office, a lottery ticket vendor, and eateries selling steamed buns and beef noodle soup. The camp was built on farmland less than a 20-minute drive away.

What Buzzfeed doesn’t mention is that Shufu is an 11-mile drive from Kashgar, Xinjiang’s second-largest city.

So it is true that the “camp was built on farmland less than a 20-minute drive away” from a small rural county town called Shufu.

However, if you drive 20 minutes in the other direction, you will find yourself in the center of the second biggest city in Xinjiang, which has a population of over one million.

Funny how Five Eyes media doesn’t mention little details like that.

A Jail of 4,000 For a City of One Million

Let’s take a look at the big picture. The supposed Xinjiang detention camp is more than three times smaller than Rikers Island, which has 10,000 people. I estimate it to be 30% the size of Rikers Island. So my estimate is that it actually holds something like 3,000 people.

Now, the Wikipedia article says that Rikers Island “can hold a maximum of 15,000.” 30% of 15,000 equals 4,500. For the purposes of this post, let’s average the two estimates (of 3,000 and 4,500) to get 3,750. Then we’ll round up to 4,000 for simplicity.

We thus have a jail of 4,000 people for a city of one million, Kashgar. In America, you’d expect Kashgar to have 7,160 people in jail. And you’d naturally expect to have even more prisoners in a region with terrorism. Of course, the supposed detention camp wouldn’t be the only jail in Kashgar.

All in all, it actually would be pretty normal to have a jail of 4,000 people for a city of one million.

(P.S. What About the Buildings to the Left?)

Some of you may be wondering about the buildings to the left, in the Buzzfeed picture. Maybe they’re detention camps too.

I wondered about them too. However, Buzzfeed only focuses on the central structure. This implies that it doesn’t see the left buildings as detention camps.

Buzzfeed doesn’t seem to pay any attention to them.

I’m sure Buzzfeed would be shouting to the skies if it believed the left buildings to also be detention camps.

I also came and zoomed in on the buildings myself:

You can freely walk in and out.

As you can see, there are no barriers or walls that prevent free movement between the buildings and the road. I think we can thus safely conclude that the buildings to the left are not detention camps.

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  1. The height of the buildings can be estimated from the shadows cast, not to mention the some aerial photos are at a slight angle so you can see a little bit of the side of the buildings. Look at an aerial photo of a high rise anything from any angle and you can immediately tell it’s tall, go on Google maps and use their 3D view. You’ll see that you can’t really make a tall structure look like a short one even if you play with the angles. One of the images, this one, even have windows visible so you can just count the floors. To me, they look like they’re five or so floors give or take.

  2. Why would they build tall prisons when there’s space all around it? Tall buildings are expensive as they require much more robust structural materials and a deeper foundation, and they are built only when necessary. It’s why you only see highrises in cities, even in a country as dense as China.

  3. If they were some sort of skyscraper prison, wouldn’t Buzzfeed have went to town on reporting that? Tall prisons are very rare (again, expensive), so China using one for a supposed genocide would certainly be newsworthy. Not to mention if it was tall, you’d think Buzzfeed or some other news outlet would be able to take a side view picture just from the skyline of the area. Xinjiang isn’t a restricted area by any means and there are tons of American tourists there, and this area is next to one of the province’s largest cities so I imagine it would be pretty accessible.

  4. There isn’t even a fence surrounding the complex, so is this some kind or new-age prison that lets their inmates come and go as they please? Fences are cheap, if they wanted to keep people in, they’d have one.

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The 670x410 pixel image you linked is still an aerial photograph and I see no way to count floors on it, for what it’s worth.

You can see dark bands which are most likely windows. If the buildings were much taller, they would be a lot closer together, probably not visible on such a small image,

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Assuming you’re talking about the part where you think the rest of the prison might be under ground. Fine, maybe it is, but again, that would be much more expensive than building outwards. Also, Buzzfeed makes no mention of any suspected underground structures, which you’d think they would if they at all suspected them to exist since that would totally add to the evil atmosphere they’re trying to manufacture. And finally, even if there was an underground complex, you’d think they’d still have just basic fence to keep people from going into it and to keep inmates from escaping, but that’s not at all visible on the aerial photos, no linear structure surrounding the complex, no shadow, nothing.

I can’t care less if you don’t click on “debunk” posts, by the way, so you’re not making me feel bad by saying that. Go ahead and make your own choice on what you choose to believe.

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