By Gulnaz Uighur
In 1949 two things happened, first was the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and second was the invasion of East Turkestan by them. Soon after these events, the world witnessed ‘cultural revolution’ under Mao Zedong. It was one of the most dreadful phases in my people’s history.
History is repeating itself. Today again two things are happening, current Chinese leader Xi Jinping, an early comrade of Mao and an atheist, is exercising his power over China and has sent Uyghurs and Kazakh Muslims to illegal concentration camps, which are being called as ‘re-education’ camps. This term is inspired by Mao’s renaming of genocide as ‘cultural revolution’.
Uyghur Muslims who have Turkic roots are forced to become robots for PRC.
They are being kept apart from their families, their children and tortured to forget their identities, denounce their religion and pledge allegiance to the Communist Party. This is happening because Uyghurs practice Islam and have a unique culture and China thinks of us as extremists for doing so.
While European Union and United Nations are condemning these camps, Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Islamic countries in Africa, Maldives have chosen to keep quiet and continue their ‘friendship’ with Beijing. Out of all these countries, only Malaysia has had the courage to stand up and support Uyghurs. In Islamic Studies, we have always learned about the concept of Ummah (Muslim Brotherhood) as explained in the Quran. Now is the time to truly show its power by saving Uyghurs from Chinese torture. China’s policies are clearly anti-Islam and we must stop this plague before it takes down all the others.
Below are 5 horrible things that are happening with your brother and sisters in these Chinese secret camps. Please share our pain and demand your government helps Uyghurs before its too late.
- Brainwashed to forget Islam: People living in the camps are not allowed to pray. They are specifically told that rituals in Islam are dangerous, to not follow things that have been told in Quran. They have to sing pro-Chinese songs to get food. The authorities make sure that they learn Chinese propaganda and forget about their own culture. Many ex-detainees have said that people are increasingly becoming like robots. The guards make them fearful and weaken detainees, physically and mentally, so that they become obedient.
- Forced to eat pork and drink alcohol: Party leaders in Urumqi have begun an anti-halal movement in which they led responsible parties to swear an oath to “fight a decisive battle against pan-halalisation”. Uyghurs are now pressured to not only denounce their religion but are also being forced to eat pork and drink alcohol. The Halal signs have been removed from the boards of restaurants. Chinese Government says that this anti-halal campaign will help them to stop Islam penetrating secular life and fueling “extremism”.
- Forms of Torture: In order to make people obey their orders, the authorities torture them in various inhumane ways. Victims are shackled to “tiger” chairs by their ankles; their hands are locked behind. Chinese Communist Party torturers don’t let them sleep, hang people for hours and beat them. Tools like thick wooden and rubber batons, whips made from twisted wire, needles to pierce the skin, pliers for pulling out your nails etc. are used to torture the person and beat the Islam out of them. People are made to stand on cement slabs in the hot sun, without any clothes except flimsy underwear. They put people in a water prison filled with very dirty, smelly water, up to the neck, for up to five days. During this torture, Uyghur victims are given a small piece of bread, the words of prison guards, “just so [they] survive”.
- Women are raped: During an interview, some ex-detainees have revealed that young Uyghur women are raped daily by CCP officials in the camps and are killed if they resist. These women are taken from their cells and raped all night long. If they keep resisting, then they are injected with something and killed. Women are also given pills to stop them from becoming pregnant. There are usually 40 to 50 women in one small room, but five to 10 are regularly taken out and they just disappear, they never come back. People are being killed daily.
- Bizarre Reasons behind being sent to the camps: At present anyone is taken in the camps. In prior years religious Uyghurs were targeted, but now not a single Uyghur is safe. They may go out to buy vegetables and may never come back. Still, some of the reasons that can get Uyghurs in trouble are bizarre. They are being detained for reasons such as contacting friends and relatives abroad, traveling to a foreign country, growing a beard, and hearing a religious sermon while getting a haircut. Bodies of those who die in the concentration camps are never released to their family members. In the words of an ex-detainee, “You can’t even commit suicide in these camps. Because of the “extreme pressure” in the detention camps, a lot of Uyghurs want to commit suicide, But there is no way to do so, because five to ten people are always watching you, and there are cameras in the rooms.”
The conditions are extreme- will you still keep quiet?