By Ben Westcott, CNN
Updated 0329 GMT (1129 HKT) November 8, 2018
Hong Kong (CNN)Spending on prisons and security-related construction in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang doubled between 2016 and 2017 new research has revealed, undermining China's denial of the existence of mass internment camps.
Up to a million ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have reportedly been detained in the past year inside enormous "re-education camps" in the tightly-controlled province, where former detainees say they were forced to endure intensive "brainwashing" sessions.The claims, which have been made by activists for months, were confirmed as "broadly accurate" by the UK government in October.After initially denying the reports vehemently at the United Nations, China later changed its story without explanation to claim the camps were "vocational training centers", and the "students" were happy to be there and free to leave on completing their courses.
Photo taken on July 2 shows a man walking past a wall bearing a China Communist Party slogan in Kashgar in the country's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
This photo taken on February 27, 2017 shows Chinese military police attending an anti-terrorist oath-taking rally in Hetian, northwest China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.