“Uighur crackdown: ‘I spent seven days of hell in Chinese camps’.”
By Abdujalil Abdurasulov, 12 February, 2019.
BBC News, Almaty.
In the article Aibota Serik says her father has disappeared into china’s network of detention centres. The Chinese government calls them free “vocational training centres”, Aibota Serik, a Chinese Kazakh whose father was sent to one, calls them prisons. Aibota Serik’s father Kudaybergen Serik was a local imam in Tarbagatay (Tacheng) prefecture of China’s western Xinjiang region. In February 2018 the police detained him and Aibota hasn’t heard from her father since then. She says, I don’t know why my father was imprisoned. ” He didn’t violate any laws of China, he was not tried in a court,” clutching a small photo of him, before breaking down in tears.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has heard there are credible reports that around one million people have been detained in internment camps in Xinjiang, China. Almost all of them are from Muslim minorities such as the Uighurs, Kazakhs and others. There are more than a million Kazakhs living in China. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, thousands moved to oil-rich Kazakhstan, encouraged by its policy to attract ethnic Kazakhs. Today, these people feel cut off from their relatives who stayed in China.
Nurbulat Tursunjan uulu, who moved to the Almaty region in 2016, says his elderly parents are unable to leave China and come to Kazakhstan because the authorities took away their passports. In the picture he is holding his parents pictures in his hand. Another petitioner, Bekmurat Nusupkan uulu, says that relatives in China are afraid to talk on the phone or on the popular Chinese messaging app WeChat. He also said that his father-in-law visited him in February, 2018. From that place (Kazakhstan) he called his son who’s name is Baurzhan in China and asked him how he was and so on. Shortly after that his son Baurzhan was detained. He was told that he had received phone calls from Kazakhstan two or three times and that’s why he was sent to a political camp.
They are putting these Uighur people in the camp without any due process rights – neither charged nor put on trial – and have no access to lawyers and family. Orynbek Koksybek is an ethnic Kazakh who spent several months in camps. Koksybek says he spent seven days of hell. His hands were handcuffed, his legs were tied. They threw him in a pit. He raised his both hands and looked above. At that moment, they poured water and he started screaming. “ I don’t remember what happened next. I don’t know how long I was in the pit but it was winter and very cold. They said I was a traitor, that I had dual citizenship, that I had a debt and owned land.” None of that was true, he says. He is being accused for what he never had done. A week later Mr Koksybek was taken to a different place where they forced him to learn chinese language and songs. He learnt Chinese songs and language. He was told he would leave if he learnt 3,000 words. In China they call it re-education camps to teach people but if they wanted to educate, why do they handcuff people? They detain Kazakhs because they’re Muslims. China’s aim is to turn Kazakhs into Chinese. They want to erase the whole ethnicity. This article shows how In the re-education camp in China people such as Uighur and Kazakhs are being tortured and getting punished.
“I am an Uighur who faced China’s concentration camps. This is my story.”
Victor Jack, friday october 16, 2020. (Varsity.co.UK)
This article is about an Uighur Muslim Omir Bekali, a 41 years old man who’s exposing the china re-education camp by telling his own experience in the re-education camp. In the article Victor Jack was taking an interview with Omir Bekali an Uighur Muslim who recounts his imprisonment, torture and indoctrination at the hands of the Chinese state. In early 2017, Omir had a good life. He is a proud father of three kids, he had a Tourism degree, a small business and several managerial positions under his belt. Omir was planning to lead the Kazakh delegation to the upcoming international Astana Trade Exposition, an event which typically draws in millions. But in march to promote the event he took a trip to Xinjiang, northwest China. During a short post-work visit to his family in nearby Turpan, on the morning of the 26th March, policemen showed up at the door to arrest him. This was the beginning of his eight month journey of unending physical and psychological torment. Omir says, “They shackled my hands and put black fabric [over] my eyes,” Ӧmir says. “I feel my body tremble whenever I remember that moment”. Omir was born in Xinjiang, China and he is from an Uighur family. Economic, cultural and religious discrimination against Uighurs had been brewing for decades. In 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a new “People’s War on Terror” aimed at fighting regional ‘terrorists’ and ‘separatists’.
After Omir got arrested without any explanation, he was thrown into a small police station cell. Omir says the room seemed to be built for 12 people, but contained more than 36 others like him, had their arms and legs constantly shackled. Then he was transferred to another police station where he got tortured by the authorities for four complete days. Omir explained the torture he got in the police cell by saying that “They put needles in between my nails and my fingers,” he adds, “then they put iron sticks into my sexual organs”. His feet and his hands were tied up with iron shackles and he also got beaten in the cell. They beat his hands, his feet, his back and his stomach”. Omir says he was put into a ‘Tiger Chair’ for long periods, a metal seat-like contraption which restricts movement. Police also hung him from the roof of the cell by his wrists so his feet could not touch the floor, and later smashed his knuckles with hammer-like instruments. In the picture the scars are still there on his hand. Omir says “I did not confess anything because I hadn’t done anything,” he says. “Maybe they thought after torture I would just confess something I had never done before”. After spending seven months locked up with no access to lawyers, no phones or communication with his family and without any explanation of his arrest Omir was moved to a nearby, highly-fortified prison camp.
In November 2017, Omir was transported to his final destination (the re-education camp). There are 40 people in a 16 square-metre room. Prisoners as young as 15 and as old as 80 are placed into these cramped cells. Twenty-four hours a day, prisoners are shackled. Iron chains are tied around their necks, fixed to lose iron blocks that Omir says weigh around eight to ten kilograms, forcing prisoners to always be hunched down. He stayed in that room with lots of different people, some of them are businesspeople, historians, school professors, writers, singers and many others.they speak much better Chinese than Chinese people themselves and they have more money than Chinese themselves. This shows that they don’t need to be re-educated. They are then forced to repeatedly sing songs which praise the Chinese Communist party, stress China’s greatness, and show gratitude towards President Xi Jinping personally. Prisoners are constantly warned about 48 characteristics considered hostile to the Chinese state, which include growing beards, praying and religious charity-giving. The aim of these drills is clear, Omir says: “become Han Chinese … forget your religion, forget your culture”. If you don’t listen to them you will get punished and tortured to death.
As Omir often expressed his discontent with his arrest, he found himself tortured and beaten half to death. They made him stand facing a wall for twenty-four hours without food or drink on some occasions. In the article there is a picture of Omir one day before he got arrested and ten days after he got released from the camp and the changes of Omir face in the picture shows the tortured he faced in the camp and how these tortures have affected his health. Omir says in his statement that “The Chinese government calls them re-education camps. Actually there are no re-education camps – all are concentration camps.” After 20 days, Omir was finally released. Omir says he doesn’t know in the future he can get back into his normal life but he is hoping that students can organise more protests, write more news about Uighurs, and raise the awareness of the general public. This article proved that these re-education camp made to torture to death the Uighur Muslim people not to re-educate them.