NGA Tearline: What Can Nighttime Lighting Tell Us About China's Uyghur Detention Facilities?

A three part series in collaboration with the Rand Corporation

In this three-part investigation, RAND Corporation researchers Eric Robinson and Sean Mann explore new data on nighttime lighting in Xinjiang to offer new, empirical insights into China’s efforts to reeducate, detain, and imprison its Uyghur and ethnic minority populations. GEOINT analysis of nighttime lighting and satellite imagery data over known detention and reeducation facilities in Xinjiang reveals the explosive growth of these facilities over time.

This analysis provides new, empirical evidence to suggest that the overwhelming majority of detention facilities in Xinjiang remain active, operational, and in many cases, still under construction – despite Chinese claims to the contrary.

Read Part 1:
Investigating the Growth of Detention Facilities in Xinjiang Using Nighttime Lighting

Read Part 2:
Have Any of Xinjiang’s Detention Facilities Closed?

Read Part 3:
Explaining Variation in the Growth and Decline of Detention Facilities across Xinjiang

What is NGA Tearline?

NGA is partnering with expert private groups to grow public-facing, authoritative open source intelligence on various strategic and humanitarian intelligence topics that tend to be under-reported within long-form format.

This authoritative open source content will be cited for internal purposes and it will grow public trust by increasing transparency around shared public-private interest in various strategic and humanitarian intelligence topics that are fit for public consumption.

Learn more about NGA Tearline.