In a shocking revelation, a Uyghur woman has made a public statement detailing the horrendous torture she had to undergo in China’s detainment camps. Millions of Uyghurs are said to be suffering in such camps that Beijing has termed a “necessity” to fight terrorism.
The woman, 29-year-old Mihrigul Tursun, spoke to reporters in Washington with the assistance of a translator. When she was arrested by Xinjiang authorities, Tursun had to get her head shaved and was forced to undergo an intrusive medical examination.
During her third arrest, the treatment got worse. She had to spend three months in a tiny cell with 60 other women and had to use the toilet in front of security cameras. Nine women died during the period she stayed in the cell.
“The authorities put a helmet-like thing on my head, and each time I was electrocuted, my whole body would shake violently and I would feel the pain in my veins… I don’t remember the rest. White foam came out of my mouth, and I began to lose consciousness… The last word I heard them saying is that you being a Uyghur is a crime,” Tursun said in a statement (The News Tribune).
The Chinese government eventually released her so that she could take her children to Egypt. However, she was strictly ordered to come back to China. Instead, Tursun got in touch with U.S. authorities in Cairo and came to America in September. She is currently settled in Virginia.
“I hope the U.S. government will take strong action against the officials responsible for torturing me and the death of my little boy and the deaths of so many innocent Uyghur people… My people look to the United States as a beacon of hope. It is the only country that can tell China to stop its ethnic cleansing of the Uyghur people,” she said in a statement (The Hill).
Meanwhile, the UN is pressuring Chinese authorities to allow its team to visit the Xinjiang region, which is said to house the largest Uyghur detainment camps. “We have been asking for direct access to the region to be able to check and verify the worrying reports we are receiving,” Michelle Bachelet, a United Nations human rights official, said in a statement (Reuters).
China has claimed that the camps are “educative” in nature, meant to train Uyghurs for employment, and ensure that they do not fall into extremist activities. However, the Jamestown Foundation, a U.S.-based think-tank, published a report that trashed such claims, saying that there has been no change in employment figures in Xinjiang to suggest that the camps were in any way “educative.”
“Xinjiang’s budget figures do not reflect increased spending on vocational education… Rather, they reflect patterns of spending consistent with the construction and operation of highly secure political re-education camps designed to imprison hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs with minimal due process,” Adrian Zenz, author of the report, said to The Epoch Times.
Uyghurs are forced to give up their faith in such camps, with many asked to pledge their loyalty to the Communist Party. Traditional customs like a long beard, Arab-style mosques, purdah, etc, are banned in many places. The children of parents who are detained in the camps are often sent to state-run orphanages.