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'This Could Be a Massive Disaster': What Happens If the Coronavirus Hits China’s Internment Camps?



Photo of people wearing face masks at Ginza shopping district in Tokyo
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Perhaps the only thing worse than being stuck in an internment camp is being stuck in an internment camp when there’s a deadly virus on the move.
As the Wuhan coronavirus spreads across China, infections have been confirmed in the northwestern province of Xinjiang, where an estimated 1 million Muslims are held in camps for forced indoctrination.
For now, there’s no evidence that the virus has hit any of the camps. But experts warn that if it does, it could drastically compound the suffering there, potentially leading to thousands of deaths.
Former inmates — most of whom are Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority — have reported that the camps are overcrowded and unsanitary. If the virus gains a toehold there, it could spread from person to person all too easily.
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