Although this giant facility in Dabancheng, Urumqi looks like a typical detention center 看守所, some evidence suggest it is actually a re-education camp.
A land development permit in 2017 says the land east of Gaochang Road高昌路, north of Wenda Road文大路, west of Xuefu Road学府路 will be developed as Urumqi’s Vocational Skill Education Training Center, i.e. reeducation camp. This land is developed by Justice Bureau司法局, which is often responsible for the reeducation camp construction & administration. While detention center is managed by Public Security Bureau 公安局.
This facility is located in Dabancheng’s North City New District 城北新区. There is no map yet. But I find a environment evolution report on Dabancheng’s North City New District’s phrase II infrastructure projects. There is a detailed road planning map in this report.
The northest road is Wenda Road. The land permit says 文大路, but here there is only 文达路. I think 文大 is a typo. The correct name is 文达. The land permit only mentioned 3 road (west, east, and south of the camp). It means there is no road north of the camp. The map shows 文达路 is the northest road in Dabancheng New District. In the north of the camp, there is only city boundaries, which consist of sand fixing shrubbery.
The westest road is Gaochang Road 高昌路. It was originally Lvyuan Road 绿园路 in the map. But it was renamed as Gaochang Road in 2016.
The road in the middle is Xuefu Road 学府路. Currently, city only built the south part of Xuefu Road. The road planning map suggests Xuefu Road will be extended to the north.
So the facility in the satellite image is very likely the one referred in the land development permit.
Moreover, I find an electrical engineer’s resume. He participated in the construction of Urumqi’s Vocational Skill Education Training Center. According to his description, the total area is 520,000 sqm. The facility in the satellite image is also about 520,000 sqm. There is 8 prison dorms监舍, 8 police preparation buildings 警察备勤楼. We can also identify these buildings in the satellite image.
So from these information, it is very likely the facility in the satellite image is Urumqi city’s reeducation camp. Some sources say this facility mainly detains Urumqi’s, Xinjiang’s capital city, Uyghurs. My estimation is this facility can hold about 10 thousands people.
This reeducation camp is The size of this camp is exceptionally large compared with the city of Dabancheng. The left is Dabancheng in 2005, with a population of about 18,000. If we compare this reeducation camp with Dabancheng in 2005, they are very similar in size. Camp is 520,000 sqm, city is 648,000 sqm. The right image is present day Dabancheng, which has undergone great expansion. The camp is still about 1/3 size of the whole city of Dabancheng.