What Exactly Happens In Chinese Concentration Camps?

As details emerge, the horrifying picture becomes more clear.
TOPSHOT - A demonstrator wearing a mask painted with the colours of the flag of East Turkestan and a hand bearing the colours of the Chinese flag attends a protest of supporters of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and Turkish nationalists to denounce China's treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims during a deadly riot in July 2009 in Urumqi, in front of the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, on July 5, 2018. - Nearly 200 people died during a series of violent riots that broke out on July 5, 2009 over several days in Urumqi, the capital city of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in northwestern China, between Uyghurs and Han people.
OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

In the desolate, northwest Xinjiang region of the People’s Republic of China, the Muslim, Turkish Uyghur minority faces cultural extermination. The Communist Party, headed by President Xi Jinping, has been ramping up a policy of persecution of industrial scale, arguably unparalleled in scope and horror since the Holocaust.

As the Uyghurs are culturally, religiously, and geographically separate from the Han Atheists in Beijing, the Communists see the Uyghur identity as an existential threat to their power and thus seek to eradicate it, with their actions reaching far past the darkest pages of Machiavelli or Orwell.

Currently, between one and three million Uyghur Muslims are interred in hundreds of concentration camps across the region, according to Reuters. The camps are massive complexes, enclosed by towering walls topped with barbed wire, watchtowers, and security cameras. Everything about the Uyghurs’ lives in the facilities is heavily regulated, with days vacillating between torture and “re-education.”

An ordinary day entails the unrelenting repetition of and exposure to songs, dances, phrases, and movies that glorify Xi Jinping, China, and the Communist Party, with each prisoner’s ideological “progress” individually tracked. When detainees step out of line — however slightly — the paltry amount of food they are afforded is withheld for extended periods. Any more significant violation is met with unrelenting torture.

Widespread mistreatment in the concentration camps involves the most grievous forms of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. According to victim accountants, mothers have been forcibly separated from their newborns immediately after birth, with the babies returned in body bags. Pregnant women have had forced electric vacuum abortions, well into the third trimester while others face are beaten, electroshock tortured, force-fed birth control pills, and forced to undergo involuntarily IUD insertion. One victim was even completely deprived of sunlight. 

In order to destroy the Uyghur people’s connection to Sunni Islam, an integral aspect of their identity, adults are made to imbibe alcohol and food during Ramadan two major religious violations for any practicing Muslim.

Women are subjected to weekly shots containing substances of unknown identity that cease menstruation and disorient the recipients. Besides contributing to the genetic elimination of Uyghurs, the injection serves to cover up the consequences of the institutionalized sexual abuse that runs rampant within the walls.

After years of reports from witnesses, a recent BBC investigation has provided concrete evidence revealing the scope and horror of such sexual violence. One of the ex-detainees interviewed in the BBC investigation, Tursuray Ziyawudun, recounted how masked men in the middle of the night would come into her room and violently rape her. Other times, they would sexually abuse her with electric cattle prongs. Another ex-detainee, Gulzira Audlkhan, was forced to enable the violence, having to strip down and restrain other women, who Han Chinese men would then rape. This type of abuse is far from covert. As the VOA has reported, public gang rape is a common occurrence. 

Outside of the walls of the camp, life in Xinjiang as a Uyghur is not much better. A Uyghur doctor told ITV that Chinese officials would comb villages for young women who would then be herded into trackers where she would implant IUDs into them, while pregnant women would undergo forced abortion followed by sterilization. This intentional ethnic liquidation of the Uyghur people has been confirmed to be official state policy, with one uncovered 2019 Chinese government document calling for up to 34% of all fertile Uyghur women in certain counties in Xinjiang to be sterilized by the end of that year. For those children who still manage to be born in 2021, they will nevertheless find themselves raised in times far more reminiscent of 1984.

Every Uyghur in Xinjiang between the ages of 12 to 65 has had their blood, DNA, and irises scanned and stored in a government database. Every public space is covered with the most advanced facial and voice recognition cameras, with over 160,000 cameras in the regional capital alone. Residents have to routinely surrender their phones for a complete inspection by authorities. For Uyghurs, turning to religion for a reprieve from tyranny has become increasingly difficult, as over 8,500 mosques and countless shrines have been demolished. The mosques that remain intact two-thirds have been closed have Chinese police stationed at their entrances to intimidate and harass attendees. This destruction of religious sites is merely one facet of the larger campaign against Uyghur heritage locations. Around 50% of all cultural sites, according to the Guardian, have been desecrated. This includes the ancient city of Kashgar, the historical central node of the Uyghur people, which was wiped from the face of the earth.

In addition to seeking the elimination of the Uyghur race, the Communist party has also devised an abominable program to simultaneously raise funds by forcibly harvesting organs. According to the China Tribunal, a two year comprehensive independent investigation determined that Uyghurs and practitioners of the banned meditation routine known as Falun Gong have had their organs forcibly harvested since 2001, with organs providing over $1 billion in annual revenue for the Party. With wait times for organs in China averaging two weeks compared to three to five years in the United States, this suggests that the donor bodies are being killed on demand. Additionally, voluntary organ transplant only became an option in China in 2010, despite possessing an appreciable organ transplant network since 2001. 

For those Uyghurs who are not imprisoned or harvested for organs, slave labor is a common possibility. Last march, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) estimated that at least 80,000 Uyghurs are being held as slave laborers in Chinese factories. The companies that have been reported to utilize Uyghur forced labor in some part of their supply chain most likely provide your everyday household items. Adidas, Amazon, Apple, Dell, Gap, Nike, Microsoft, Samsung, and Zara are only a few of 82 international companies named in the ASPI’s report, with virtually all the profits of the labor going to the state. For the Uyghur workers who make the products, they are bound to their factories’ premises like a slave to a plantation. As reported by the BBC, this program has a secondary objective of assimilating the ethnic minority.

It may seem like the solution for a member of the Uyghur population is to flee, but that is not always a possibility. China has mandated all Uyghurs to turn in their passports, making it impossible to legally leave the state. For those who succeed in escaping, legally or not, they still might not be safe from the tentacles of the state. Al Jazeera interviewed a former Chinese spy who described a worldwide network that manipulates and coerces Uyghurs living abroad to return home. Those who fall victim are invariably imprisoned in the concentration camps. Furthermore, there have been reports of abductions all across the world. Not even American residents are safe from the clutches of the Chinese government. Only a few months ago, the U.S state department charged eight Chinese operatives with the alleged attempted kidnapping of an enemy of the Chinese state on U.S soil.

The pain and suffering of the Uyghur people is seemingly endless and unspeakable, with further inequities likely to remain unreported due to the secretive nature of the Chinese totalitarian state. The objective, however is clear. Xi Jinping and his regime are seeking to wipe out their “unwanted” minority.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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