65 per cent of the region's total - have been affected, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) think tank discovered, using satellite technology to map the extent of the destruction. "We discovered that numerous newly illuminated areas in these parts of Xinjiang were either newly constructed detention facilities or significant new highway checkpoints used to monitor the movement of people across Xinjiang", says Ruser.
China appeared to be expanding its network of secret detention centres in Xinjiang, where predominantly Muslim minorities are targeted in a forced assimilation campaign, and more of the facilities resemble prisons, an Australian think tank has found.
Many mosques that escaped demolition had their domes and minarets removed, according to the research, which estimated that fewer than 15,500 intact and damaged mosques were left standing around Xinjiang.
Interestingly, none of the Christian churches or the Buddhist temples in the area were destroyed during this time.
ASPI said China was trying to erase the local cultural heritage in Xingjiang, and accused global organisations and foreign governments of "turning a blind eye" to the situation.
Citing media reports and investigations by internet users, Wang said one of the sites in the report had been identified as an electronics manufacturing park and another as a five-star residential complex.
"Besides other coercive efforts to re-engineer the social and cultural life of the Uyghurs by transforming or eliminating the Uyghur language, their music, their homes and even their diets, the Chinese government's policies are actively erasing and changing key elements of their material cultural heritage", the Foreign Policy Institute report said.
France's president on Tuesday called for an worldwide mission under the auspices of the United Nations to visit China's Xinjiang due to concerns over the Muslim Uighur minority.
The Chinese government has, however, expectedly declined these accusations. But the crackdown has intensified in recent years, with restrictions on praying, fasting, growing a beard or wearing a hijab.
Donald Rushambwa, a researcher at China-Africa Economic and Culture Exchange Research Center, said the white paper shows that the labor rights and interests of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have been fully protected.
The US Chamber of Commerce criticized the act, claiming it would prohibit legitimate trade rather than prevent the import of products made by forced labor.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin dismissed the report as "slanderous rumors" when asked about its findings at a regular press conference on Friday.
He added: "Across the country, we also remain seriously concerned about the pressure on media freedom...(We) call on China to uphold the rights and freedoms in the Joint Declaration, to respect the independence of the Hong Kong judiciary, allow unfettered access to Xinjiang and to release all those who are arbitrarily detained". "It means there is a mosque for every 530 Muslims in Xinjiang, which is more mosques per capita than many Muslim countries".
Fourteen detention centres were being built this year after Xinjiang authorities reported that all detainees had "graduated", said ASPI, which has been monitoring the camps for two years.
China has denied mistreating Uighurs, and say the camps are vocational training centres that are needed to tackle extremism.
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