Daily Archives: February 6, 2021

Systematic Rape in Xinjiang Camps

Analysts say the policy against the Uighurs flows directly from President Xi Jinping.

A shocking BBC report led politicians from all over the world to call for an UN-led investigation of “crimes against humanity.”

Depending on the time zone, it was in the evening of February 2 or in the early morning of February 3 that the world was shocked by an exceptional and deeply disturbing BBC reportage on how “mass rape, sexual abuse, and torture” are commonplace in Xinjiang’s dreaded transformation through education camp.

BBC’s David Campanale, a noted specialist of human rights issues in China, Matthew Hill and Joel Gunter interviewed former detainees and one guard, and heard from scholar Adrian Zenz.

Secret filming obtained by Bitter Winter activist group showed cells with bars and cameras.

They were also able to show video images from inside the camps, filmed by a Bitter Winter reporter who was subsequently arrested. We gladly supplied to the BBC footage from our archives, which in part was never published before.

Ziawudun identified this site – listed as a school – as the location where she was held. Satellite images from 2017 (left) and 2019 (right) show significant development typical of camps, with what look like dormitory and factory buildings.

Not only did the witnesses interviewed by the BBC ridicule the Chinese propaganda theory that the camps are “vocational schools” rather than jails, they described a horrific system where “rape” was not occasional but was used systematically to break the Uyghur women’s personal integrity and will.

Gulzira Auelkhan makes tea at home in her village. She was detained for 18 months.

Gulzira Auelkhan, an ethnic Kazakh who spent 18 months in the camps, told the BBC that she was forced to systematically “remove the clothes of women detainees above the waist and handcuff them so they cannot move,” so that police and even Han Chinese civilians introduced from the outside, who “would pay money to have their pick of the prettiest young inmates,” could rape them.

Tursunay Ziawudun spent nine months inside China’s network of internment camps.

Tursunay Ziawudun, a woman who escaped from Xinjiang to Kazakhstan after she was released from the camps, and then to the U.S., reported how she and her cellmates were savagely “beaten and raped.” She was tortured with an electric stick inserted into her genital tract to deliver electric shocks.

Some of the women who were taken in the night to the rooms where they were raped by the police and masked Chinese men lost their mind, Ziawudun said. Others “never returned.”

“They don’t only rape,” Ziawudun added, “but also bite all over your body. They did not spare any part of the body, they bit everywhere leaving horrible marks I have experienced that three times. And it is not just one person who torments you, not just one predator. Each time they were two or three men.”

Qelbinur Sedik, an ethnic Uzbek woman who now lives in exile, went to the camps as a Chinese language teacher. She told the BBC that she befriended a policewoman, who told her that in the camps “the rape has become a culture. It is gang rape and the Chinese police not only rape them but also electrocute them. They are subject to horrific torture.”

Sedik reported to the Uyghur Human Rights Project that electric batons were used for “four kinds of electric shock: the chair, the glove, the helmet, and anal rape with a stick. The screams echoed throughout the building. I could hear them during lunch and sometimes when I was in class.”

Sayragul Sauytbay, a teacher, said she witnessed a harrowing rape. She was later accused of crossing illegally into Kazakhstan.

The BBC also interviewed Sayragul Sauytbay, the ethnic Kazakh woman whose story is well-known to readers of Bitter Winter. Asked about rape in the camps, she said it was “common,” and told the story of a young girl, 20 or 21-year-old, who was brought in front of some 100 detainees for self-criticism.

After that, “in front of everyone, the police took turns to rape her.” The women inmates who tried to close their eyes or look away were in turn taken by the police for “punishment.” 

Gulzira Auelkhan, center, at home in her village. She was forced to restrain women in the camps, she said.

Ziawudun and a former camp guard also offered information on how the “thought reform” process, or deprogramming, of the inmates works. Detainees should listen to propaganda for long hours and memorize books by President Xi Jinping. They are punished if they fail to remember them.

They are compelled to spend long hours singing CCP songs, and watching videos featuring Xi Jinping. Alone, this would not break their will, but they were also forced to take pills and injected every 15 days with “vaccines” that made them sick and confused, and subjected to sleep and food deprivation.

The IPAC press release.

“They say people are released, but in my opinion everyone who leaves the camps is finished.”

And that, she said, was the plan. The surveillance, the internment, the indoctrination, the dehumanization, the sterilization, the torture, the rape.

“Their goal is to destroy everyone,” she said. “And everybody knows it.”

Zenz said that the BBC report “provides authoritative and detailed evidence of sexual abuse and torture at a level clearly greater than what we had assumed.” It also confirmed that “torture, rape, and thought reform” are unable to overcome the courage and determination of many brave women, who fled China and are willing to take great risks to tell the truth about the camps to the world.

The BBC report will not remain without consequences. Politicians from all over the world, united in the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), are calling for an UN-led international investigation of the crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated in Xinjiang. “These atrocities must be stopped, they said.”

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