Reports have recently surfaced of violent gang rape against religious minorities detained in Chinese concentration camps in Xinjiang.
Qelbinur Sidik, who was forced to teach inside the camps, made the allegations in an interview published by CNN this week. CNN’s report relied solely on the accounts of alleged witnesses.
Sidik’s story begins by noting that a policewoman told her very early on that she had been assigned to investigate reports of rapes and torture taking place at the facility. Sidik said that the policewoman described to her how the male guards at the camp often bragged while drinking about how they “raped and tortured girls.”
Sidik said that her first encounter with new detainees was approximately 100 men and women who were chained in shackles around their hands and feet. She said that even those that came in physically and mentally strong eventually were broken by the brutal system that the communist Chinese had installed in the camps, where an estimated nearly 2 million religious minorities are being detained. She said that she witnessed “horrific traged[ies]” while working at the camp where women were regularly “crying loudly.”
Another witness, Tursunay Ziyawudun, told CNN that she committed no crime when she was sent to the camps. After a month in the camp, authorities released Ziyawudun, only to arrest her a short time later for a nine-month “nightmare.” Ziyawudun, who is now in the U.S., told CNN that large numbers women were often crammed into small spaces, allowed minimal time to basic facilities like toilets, and were brutally punished for small things like using the facilities for too long.
During an interrogation session, Ziyawudun said that she was beaten so intensely that she passed out. Another time, guards forced her on to a table where they “inserted a stun baton” inside her and “twisted and shocked” her until she “blacked out” from the pain. A couple of weeks later she was ganged raped by several men, an experience she said happened to her multiple times while in the camps.
“They were extremely sadistic, causing pain and damage to the body by beating and smacking my head on the wall,” Ziyawudun said, “It was their way of punishing us.”
Xu Guixiang, a spokesperson for the Communist Party publicity department in Xinjiang, said earlier this month that religious minorities were not being rounded up in Xinjiang and claimed without evidence that China was only cracking down on “heinous and obstinate leaders and backbones of extremist groups.”
In a statement to CNN, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not address the allegations by the several women who spoke to CNN but suggested that their accounts were false.