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China obliterates documents on human rights abuses against Uyghurs

China obliterates documents on human rights abuses against Uyghurs

The Communist Chinese government has decided to obliterate the documents showing serious human rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs in concentration camps in East Turkestan.

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After the leak of documents showing serious human rights violations against Muslim Uyghurs, the Chinese administration did not deny the documents, but held meetings to discuss measures to prevent the leak of the new documents.

At meetings held in Urumqi, the capital, attended by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders, the leaders ordered the destruction of written documents and the deletion of available data.

A series of leaked documents have shed light on the Chinese government's Xinjiang detention centers, revealing  what Beijing claims are voluntary training schools for Muslim-majority Uyghurs are in fact heavily policed re-education camps.

The six documents, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist (ICIJ) include one lengthy telegram from the government commission in charge of security in Xinjiang, as well as a court ruling and four security bulletins.

The documents show plans to construct a large number of heavily secured facilities in which detainees are forcibly taught in the Chinese language, proper manners, and ideological education.

The Xinjiang re-education(!) camps

The Xinjiang re-education camps, officially called Vocational Education and Training Centers by the government of the People's Republic of China are concentration camps that have been operated by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional government for interning Uyghur Muslims since 2014. 

The camps were established under General Secretary Xi Jinping's administration. They have significantly expanded since a hardline party secretary Chen Quanguo took charge of the region in August 2016. These camps are reportedly operated outside of the legal; many Uyghurs have reportedly been interned without trial and no charges have been levied against them. Local authorities are reportedly holding hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and Muslims from other ethnic minorities in these camps on the pretext of countering extremism and terrorism as well as to promote sinicization.

As of 2018, it was estimated that the Chinese authorities may have detained hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million, of Uyghurs, Kazaks, Kyrgyz, Hui (Muslims) and other ethnic Turkic Muslims, Christians, as well as some foreign citizens such as Kazakhstanis, who are kept in these secretive internment camps throughout the region. In May 2018, Randal Schriver of the United States Department of Defense claimed that "at least a million but likely closer to three million citizens" were imprisoned in detention centers in a strong condemnation of the concentration camps. In August 2018, a United Nations human rights panel said that it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uyghurs in China have been held in "re-education camps".

In 2019, the United Nations ambassadors from 23 nations, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom signed a letter condemning China's mass detention of the Uyghurs and other minority groups, urging the Chinese government to close the camps.

We, the co-signatories to this letter, are concerned about credible reports of arbitrary detention in large-scale places of detention, as well as widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly targeting Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, China.

Antireligious campaigns in China

The government of the People's Republic of China officially espouses state atheism and it has conducted antirreligious campaigns in order to accomplish this end. Since 2014, the Chinese Communist Party has shifted its policies in favor of outright sinicization of ethnic and religious minorities. The trend accelerated in 2018 when the State Ethnic Affairs Commission and the State Administration for Religious Affairs were replaced under the control of the United Front Work Department.

Treatment

Kayrat Samarkand, a Kazakh citizen who migrated from Xinjiang, was detained in one of the re-education camps in the region for three months for visiting neighboring Kazakhstan. On 15 February 2018, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdarkhmanov sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the same day as Kayrat Samarkand was freed from custody. After his release, Samarkand claimed that he faced endless brainwashing and humiliation, and that he was forced to study communist propaganda for hours every day and chant slogans giving thanks and wishing for a long life to Xi Jinping, current General Secretary of The Communist Party of China.

Mihrigul Tursun, an Uyghur woman detained in China, after escaping one of these camps, talked of alleged beatings and torture. After moving to Egypt, she traveled to China in 2015 to spend time with her family and was immediately detained and separated from her infant children. When Tursun was released three months later, one of the triplets had died and the other two had developed health problems. Tursun said the children had been operated on. She was arrested for a second time about two years later. Several months later, she was detained a third time and spent three months in a cramped prison cell with 60 other women, having to sleep in turns, use the toilet in front of security cameras and sing songs praising China’s Communist Party.

Tursun said she and other inmates were forced to take unknown medication, including pills that made them faint and a white liquid that caused bleeding in some women. Tursun said nine women from her cell died during her three months there. One day, Tursun recalled, she was led into a room and placed in a high chair, and her legs and arms were locked in place. "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," Tursun said in a statement read by a translator. "I don’t remember the rest. White foam came out of my mouth, and I began to lose consciousness," Tursun said. "The last word I heard them saying is that you being an Uyghur is a crime." She was eventually released so that she could take her children to Egypt, but she was ordered to return to China. Once in Cairo, Tursun contacted U.S. authorities, in September, came to the United States, and settled in Virginia.

Some detainees reportedly endure physical and mental torture to suppress dissident religious beliefs and separatist movements. Former inmates claim that they are "forced to study communist propaganda for hours and give thanks to the general secretary by chanting 'Long live Xi Jinping as well as learn to sing the national anthem of China and communist songs. Punishments, like being placed in handcuffs for hours, waterboarding, or being strapped to "tiger chair" (a metal contraption) for long periods, are allegedly used on those who fail to follow.

According to detainees, they were also forced to drink alcohol and eat pork, which are forbidden in Islam. Some reportedly received unknown medicines while others attempted suicide. There have also been several deaths from unspecified causes reported. Some detainees have alleged widespread sexual torture, including forced abortions, forced use of contraceptive devices, sterilization, and rape. Rushan Abbas of the Campaign for Uyghurs claims that the actions of the Chinese government amount to genocide according to United Nations definitions, which are laid out in the Genocide Convention.

Forced labor

Scholar Adrian Zenz and others have reported that the re-education camps also function as forced labor camps in which Uyghurs produce various products for export, especially those made from cotton grown in Xinjiang.

Children

Children of Uyghur parents have been separated from their families and sent to schools where they are taught Mandarin Chinese.

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