Uyghur People: In The Concentration Camps They Carry Out Various Types Of Torture And Abuse

Updated: Oct 25

A UK based poet and academic has spoken about Chinese atrocities towards the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of Western China.


A UK based poet and academic has spoken about Chinese atrocities towards the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of Western China.


Aziz Isa Elkun, is an academic at SOAS University of London who has lived in the UK for the past 20 years. Members of his family are victims of Chinese atrocities including his sister who was held in an internment camp for more than a year. He lives in exile in North London.


According to recent reports, Uyghur Muslims in China are being forced to denounce their faith, while China has destroyed 70 percent of mosques in the Uyghur Autonomous Region. The Uyghurs prefer to call their land ‘Uyghuristan.’


Since 2015, it has been estimated that as many as three million Uighurs have been detained in so called ‘re-education camps’. These are basically internment camps where mainly Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims are brainwashed and indoctrinated in Communist ideology.


Islam has pretty much been banned by authorities, the Quran and fasting are outlawed, Islamic dress is forbidden and ancient mosques have been bulldozed or turned into bars.


Aziz stated: “The occupation and colonisation of our country – Uyghuristan – began in 1949 but has only come under media scrutiny since 2017.


“We have been Muslims from the beginning of Islam, going back to the time of Prophet Muhammad (s). China has a population of 1.4 billion people. There are about 20 million Uyghur people . We have nothing in common with the majority Han people of China.” he said.


“Compared to the majority of Chinese people, we, the Uyghur have a different language and religion; we speak the Uyghur language that belongs to the Turkic linguistic family rather than Mandarin.


“My father passed away in 2017, his grave was completely demolished. I only found out about this in 2019 on Google Maps. After I gave an interview to CNN about the destruction of my father’s tomb, the Chinese media campaigned to discredit me for speaking out against the Chinese genocide. I have not seen or spoken to my mother for many years.”


According to a CNN report more than a hundred cemeteries have been destroyed over the past three years.


Between one to three million Uyghurs have been detained alongside other Turkic Muslim minorities including Kazakh Muslims. Aziz does not even know how his family have been for the past four years. The Western province has a majority Muslim population and is rich in natural resources such as gas and cotton.


Aziz added: “Over the last three years almost all mosques and other religious sites, including graveyards have been destroyed although we want to preserve our ethnic and cultural identity, and we don’t want be assimilated by China.


“In the concentration camps they carry out various types of torture and abuse and accuse us of being terrorists while the Chinese government is terrorising the entire Uyghur population.


“It is a lie when they say the camps are anti-radicalisation centres. If someone prays five times a day or keeps a beard or if a female covers her hair they will be targeted by authorities and will face punishment like long term imprisonment and brutal abuse.”


The Chinese government claims that they are offering vocational training designed to fight extremism but accusations of severe torture have been made by former detainees.


Some horror stories are slowly coming to light of abuse and kidnappings, one person was detained for something as innocent as going on pilgrimage.


Aziz added: “There are reports of many deaths coming from internment camps. We have heard witness statements from former camp residents like Ömer Békali, revealing serious atrocities are being carried out against camp inmates.”


The death toll and sexual abuse of women in the concentration camps are alarming. Mihrigul Tursun, a Uyghur camp survivor gave testimony at a US Congressional Commission in November 2018.


She testified that detainees in camps are starved, electrocuted, and strip-searched. She said: “My hands bled from their beatings, each time I was electrocuted, my whole body would shake violently and I could feel the pain in my veins, I thought I would rather die than go through this torture and begged them to kill me.”


Mihrigul said she and other female prisoners were forced to take unknown medication that made them faint, and a white liquid that caused bleeding in some women. Also, during her detention nine women died.


It is estimated that millions of innocent Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims, including writers, academics, teachers, and farmers, are held in these camps. In 2018, the Uyghur people were forbidden from making or receiving phone calls from their relatives abroad. All communication was cut off.


He continued: “One day in the near future, when circumstances allow it, I want to go back to my country but it is not possible to do so yet. I am optimistic that Uyghurs will be able to live freely in their own country free of Chinese racial profiling and genocide. I am dreaming of seeing my Uyghuristan again. Only our independence will keep us safe.


“My message to Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran is to support the Uyghur people and demand China end its atrocities.


“I also appeal as a British citizen to please support the New Genocide Amendment to the Trade Bill. The UK Government must fulfil its duty and not do business with a country that is committing ethnic genocide.


“It’s an absolute moral obligation on the world, including UN member states, to save innocent people’s lives. The UK Government must do whatever it can to stop these acts of state terror.


“Indeed, it’s up to the Western democracies to protect the Uyghur people, to save their lives from China’s atrocities, or to continue watching as the world’s largest dictatorship commits crimes against humanity. The world must hold China accountable for comitting genocide against the Uyghur people.


“Undoubtedly this is the biggest campaign of ethnic cleansing since World War Two.”


Read Aziz Isa Elkun’s blog at www.azizisa.org/en

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