China is separating Muslim children from their families and faith in its far western region of Xinjiang, according to a BBC report. According to records, in one township alone more than 400 children both parents to some form of internment, either in the camps or in prison. Uighurs - members of Xinjiang's largest, Muslim ethnic group have ties with Turkey. Escaping increasing religious repression and China's birth control limits many Uighurs have come to study or to do business in Tukey. The Chinese authorities say the Uighurs are being educated in "vocational training centres" in order to combat violent religious extremism.
Uighurs in China risk detention if they try to communicate with relatives living abroad, leaving their families to wonder if they are alive or dead.
With wife detained in China, one father told BBC he fears some of his eight children may now be in the care of the Chinese state. "I think they've been taken to child education camps," he says.
Another mother, holding a photo of three sons and a daughter, said, "I heard that they've been taken to an orphanage."
“In just one year, 2017, the total number of children enrolled in kindergartens in Xinjiang increased by more than half a million. And Uighur and other Muslim minority children, government figures show, made up more than 90% of that increase,” according to the report.
Earlier, China banned civil servants, students and children in a mainly-Muslim region of Xinjiang from taking part in fasting in the holy month of Ramzan. China had also ordered restaurants to stay open. The region sees regular clashes between Uighurs and state security forces, and Beijing has blamed deadly attacks there and elsewhere in China on militants seeking independence for the resource-rich region. A separatist movement claims Xinjiang should be an independent nation, called East Turkestan.