Some 14 such centers were still under construction this year after Xinjiang authorities said that all detainees had "graduated", said ASPI, an Australia- and US -backed research institute that has been tracking the camp network for more than two years.
At least 61 of the suspected detention sites had undergone new construction and expansion work in a year leading up to July 2020, the report said.
In December 2019, Chinese officials claimed without evidence that all "trainees" had now "graduated" and were living a happy life. Observers described the camps and other accusations of abuse, forced labor, forced sterilization of women, mass surveillance, and restrictions on religious and cultural beliefs as a cultural genocide.
The researchers made use of the satellite imagery, witness accounts, media reports, and the official construction tender documents for classifying the detention facilities into four tiers depending on the existence of security features like the high perimeter walls, internal fencing, and watchtowers.
"Of these, about 50 per cent are higher security facilities, which may suggest a shift in usage from the lower-security, "re-education centres" towards higher-security prison-style facilities, " Ruser wrote.
ASPI said nighttime images were particularly useful, as they looked for areas that were newly illuminated outside towns; often these were the sites of freshly built detention centers, with daytime images giving a clear picture of construction.
Following the publication of the latest report, Chinese newspaper Global Times reported China had banned Australian Strategic Policy Institute contributors Clive Hamilton and Alex Joske from entering the country.
Kim Jong-un sends rare apology for death of South Korean official
Moon was said to have sent a letter to Kim on September 8, to which Kim responded four days later. But North Korea denied burning his body, saying it could not find him after the shooting.
Satellite imagery of the new Chinese detention facility near Kashgar taken in January 2020. The report claims that these facilities are used to keep "convicted criminals from not only Xinjiang but other parts of China as well". Some of these camps had lowered walls and added recreational facilities like basketball courts or ping-pong tables, as these centers known as re-education centers and vocational training institutes are shown to journalists and diplomats on tours. Eight camps showed signs of decommissioning.
According to ASPI, 70 of the sites it had found - a lot of them lower-security facilities - appear to be being desecuritized, with the removal of fencing and perimeter walls.
The ASPI report builds on previous investigations that also pointed to explosive growth in the prison population in Xinjiang over recent years, even as the building of indoctrination camps appeared to peak.
Relatives living outside Xinjiang have been cut off from people in the region for fear of getting into trouble, with many exiled Uighurs previously telling Business Insider that they had been blocked by their family.
But rights activists claim authorities are funnelling people into factories, where they are subjected to forced labour.
© AP Photo A complex formally known as the "Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Center" in Artux, Xinjiang.
Rights groups say an estimate of 1.5 million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking people have been incarcerated in internment camps across the northwestern territory, with residents pressured to give up traditional and religious activities. But a report released by authorities in Xinjiang early this year said that prosecutors indicted 96,596 people for criminal trial in 2019, suggesting that the flow of trials - which nearly always lead to convictions - was lower than in the previous two years, but still much higher than in the years before the crackdown took off.