Ex-Prisoners reveal the horror of China’s Detention Camps : Read full report

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been held inside, almost captured in Xinjiang’s camps. News about extortions, Harrasment and inhuman practices with them have been notified for long but not considered worth of having discussions on the lives inside those solitary confinement.

“Handcuffed often with a hood over their heads sometimes they reach your home when you are resting on your bed, or they’ll come at your work place or may call you to come at Police station”, these are the words of Narsaule who was detained in a sprawling system of internment camps.

Uighurs and Kazakhs in China’s far west expresses their stories of detainment under Xinjiang’s camps. They told the offence could be wearing a beard or downloading a banned app.

Though government told that detainment is only to provide educational or vocational training to Muslim minorities but turned out to be a forced hell for them.

Uighar Muslims
This picture shows the dorm rooms of detainees in solitary confinement. Credits : aljazeera

According to the reports of BuzzFeed News, it was impossible to reach out to the detainees and ask about them. It was even more difficult to even get a glimpse of detainees and their day today life even after putting cameras and drones.

But still BuzzFeed News were able to get few detainees about 28 in numbers who were able to escape and leave the country. They were told to sign a written agreement before leaving to not disclose what happened inside the centers.

Though some agreed to tell because they wanted to the world what exactly had happened to them and how they have been treated. The whole story was all about how they were captured and then detained where they have been tortured, abused, deprived and suffered routine humiliation. Out of which few were lucky enough to get released.One of the female detainees said :

“They treated us like livestock. I wanted to cry. I was ashamed, you know, to take off my clothes in front of others.”

Their interviews hinted on the international pressure impacting China’s mass internment policy targeting Muslim Minorities. The released ones were given no pay job with less oppressive detention.

Chinese Consulate in New York said that “the basic principle of respecting and protecting human rights in accordance with China’s Constitution and law is strictly observed in these centers to guarantee that the personal dignity of trainees is inviolable.”

Uighar Muslims
This is picture depicting the detainment centre of the uighar Muslims. Credits : Wikipedia

“The centers are run as boarding facilities and trainees can go home and ask for leave to tend to personal business. Trainees’ right to use their own spoken and written languages is fully protected … the customs and habits of different ethnic groups are fully respected and protected,” the consulate added, saying that “trainees” are given halal food for free and that they can decide whether to “attend legitimate religious activities” when they go home.

Nursaule like detainees told that before taking to detainment camp they have tested medically. After full body checkup their urine and blood samples were collected. They told how they sat for hours giving interviews to police officers answering on the questions based on foreign travels, personal beliefs and religious practices.

They were asked to sign some documents, those who get detained in 2017 and early in 2018 described a chaotic atmosphere when they arrived — often in tandem with dozens or even hundreds of other people, who were lined up for security screenings inside camps protected by huge iron gates.

They were kept in strong and humiliating environment, for several women detainees, a deeply traumatic humiliation was having their long hair cut to chin length. Women were also not allowed to wear headgears. Even after knowing that long hair is important for Kazakh women.

As well as a Camp officially would observe the detainees’ behavior during the day using cameras, and communicate with detainees over intercom.China promised the canteens, shower facilities, administrative buildings but as per detainees they saw little outside their own dorm room buildings.

Usually they were beaten, or, as happened more often to women, put into solitary confinement.

Chinese Official said they were given vocational and Educational trainings but detainees said they were brainwashed by the Communist Party propaganda and forced to labour in factories for free. Some detainees were also imprisoned.

Uighar Muslims
Uighur detainees at a detention facility in Kashgar take vocational classes. All the detainees in this class admitted to having been “infected with extremist thoughts.” Credits : NPR

Nursaule had heard that prisons which disproportionately house Uighurs and Kazakhs

could be even worse than internment camps.

“I am still afraid of talking about this,” she said. “I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t bear it.”

“It makes me suffer to tell you this,” she said.“But I feel that I have to tell it.”

Also Read : China Uighurs: A model’s video gives a rare glimpse inside internment