Muslim women who have fled China’s ‘concentration camps’ have revealed a world of rapes, abortions and sterilisations as they find refuge abroad.
It comes as shocking footage emerged allegedly showing hundreds of shackled and blindfolded Muslim prisoners being transferred in Xinjiang, western China.
UN experts and activists say at least one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in the detention centres in Xinjiang.China describes them as ‘training centres’ helping to stamp out extremism and give people new skills.
But the escaped women and local rights groups say attempts to curb the Muslim population – using methods such as rubbing chilli paste on women’s privates – are common.
Muslim women who have fled China’s ‘reeducation camps’ have revealed a world of rapes, abortions and forced sterilisations as they find refuge abroad. Gulzira Mogdyn, 38, said officials cut her open and ripped out her fetus without anaesthetic
Student Ruqiye Perhat, who was arrested in Xinjiang in 2009 and spent four years in prison before fleeing to Turkey, told the Washington Post: ‘Any woman or man under age 35 was raped and sexually abused.’
And others who have fled the camp more recently claimed the rapes had become more systematic than in normal prisons.
The camps’ guards would ‘put bags on the heads of the ones they wanted’ before dragging the women outside and raping them through the night.
In one case, a human rights activists claimed there had been seven instances of women forced into having intrauterine devices implanted.
And it was claimed women who were pregnant when they were arrested were made to have brutal abortions.
The camps’ guards would ‘put bags on the heads of the ones they wanted’ before dragging the women outside and raping them through the night. Pictured: Gulzira Mogdyn on the phone at a bus stop on the outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan
Gulzira Mogdyn, 38, who fled to Almaty, Kazakhstan, told of the gruesome way officials cut her open and ripped out her fetus without anaesthetic.
Others have previously said the Chinese guards would also medically experiment on them ahead of planned organ harvesting.
China has been forced to defend its authorities’ actions as ‘normal tasks’ following the emergence of shocking footage purported to show hundreds of shackled and blindfolded Muslim prisoners being transferred.
The drone video shows the detainees being led from trains with their heads shaven, eyes covered and hands bound.
The video, uploaded to social media and unverified, appeared as the United States is increasing its pressure on Beijing over what it says is the systematic oppression of Muslims.
Social media footage purports to show Uighur Muslim prisoners being transferred in China
With their heads shaven, eyes covered and hands bound, the detainees are seen wearing purple vests with the words ‘Kashgar Detention Center’ written on their backs in the clip
The alleged prisoners are also seen in the clip sitting in rows outside what appears to be a train station watched by dozens of SWAT officers.
Many of them, thought to be ethnic minority Uighurs, are seen wearing purple vests with the words ‘Kashgar Detention Center’ written on their backs.
US officials believed the footage to be authentic.
Former detainees have revealed that Muslims were forced to eat pork and speak Mandarin in those internment camps.
China has also kept thousands of Uighur children away from their Muslim parents before indoctrinating them in camps posing as schools and orphanages, recent evidence shows.
The detainees are seen sitting in rows in a train station watched by dozens of SWAT officers
The clip then shows them being taken away by the SWAT officers to an unknown location
A Western intelligence official was able to verify the movement of some 500 prisoners earlier this year from Kashgar to Korla in Xinjiang, a Muslim-dominant region in western China
Muslims make up about two per cent of the 1.4 billion population in China. However, as the country is so populous, its Muslim population is expected to be the 19th largest in the world in 2030.
The Muslim population in China is projected to increase from 23.3 million in 2010 to nearly 30 million in 2030.
The clip, filmed by a Chinese-made DJI drone, was posted to YouTube last month by a user known as ‘Fear on War’.
Words in the video suggest the scene was captured in Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, an autonomous prefecture for Mongols in southern Xinjiang.
A pervasive security apparatus has subdued the ethnic unrest that has long plagued China’s north-western Xinjiang region. Chinese officials have largely avoided comment on the re-education camps, but some said that ideological changes are needed to fight separatism
Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang have been told to vow loyalty to the Communist Party of China and the country’s leader Xi Jinping. Pictured, a woman walks past a screen showing images of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Kashgar on June 4, 2019
Authorities in China’s Xinjiang region have rounded up an estimated one million mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking minorities into internment camps in what they call an ‘anti-terror’ campaign
Nathan Ruser, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the footage was likely to have been taken at the Korla West Train Station in Korla after analysing the footage, according to Mr Ruser’s tweets.
Korla is a city of 550,000 people in Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture.
Authorities of Xinjiang said: ‘Transporting inmates by judicial authorities (is related) to normal judicial activities.’
In a statement to CNN, the authorities said: ‘Cracking down on crimes in accordance with law is the common practice of all countries.’
They added: ‘Xinjiang’s crackdown on crimes has never been linked to ethnicities or religions.’
A Western intelligence official believed the footage to be authentic. The official was able to verify the movement of some 500 prisoners earlier this year from Kashgar to Korla, according to CNN.
Omir Bekali cries as he details the psychological stress endured while in a Chinese internment camp. The programme aims to rewire detainees’ thinking and reshape their identities
A European security source also claimed that the footage was genuine and showed up to 600 Uighur Muslim prisoners being moved earlier this year.
The source told Sky News last month: ‘This is typical of the way the Chinese move this type of prisoner.’
New York-based Human Rights Watch said the footage demonstrates the ‘gross human rights violations’ against Uighurs from Beijing.
It called for an independent investigation into China’s treatment of its Muslim residents.
A spokesperson from the group told MailOnline: ‘While HRW hasn’t yet corroborated this footage, it raises the specter of many of the same kinds of gross human rights violations against Uyghurs we have documented – especially mass arbitrary detention and lack of access to family or counsel.
‘It underscores the urgent need for an independent investigation; Chinese authorities lost all credibility on this issue months ago by denying these abuses even exist.’
Uighur men are seen leaving a mosque after prayers in Xinjiang’s Hotan city on May 31, 2019
China is systematically indoctrinating Uighur Muslim children with detainee parents in what has been described as ‘children’s education camps’, investigation has shown (file photo)
Radical Muslim Uighurs have killed hundreds in recent years, and China considers the region a threat to peace in a country where the majority is Han Chinese. Armed police and soldiers are common sight in Xinjiang after ethnic unrest in capital Urumqi left nearly 200 people killed
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week blasted China over its treatment of Uighur Muslims.
Pompeo reserved his toughest criticism for China in a keynote speech at a Vatican conference on religious freedom.
‘When the state rules absolutely, it demands its citizens worship government, not God. That’s why China has put more than one million Uighur Muslims … in internment camps and is why it throws Christian pastors in jail,’ he said.
‘When the state rules absolutely, God becomes an absolute threat to authority,’ he said.
A building of what is officially called a vocational skills education centre in Hotan, Xinjiang
Muslim trainees work in a factory in the Hotan Vocational Education and Training Center
Pompeo had previously called Beijing’s treatment of the country’s ethnic Uighur minority among ‘the worst stains on the world’.
Beijing slammed Pompeo’s remarks as ‘lies’.
‘The lies of American politicians can’t trick people around the world and will only further expose the purpose of their hidden political motives,’ said Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
‘We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to these US officials who disregard the facts… and seriously interfere in China’s internal affairs,’ she told reporters at a press briefing in Beijing.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week said China ‘demands its citizens worship government, not God’ in a keynote speech at a Vatican conference on religious freedom
China has come under international scrutiny over its policies in the north-western region of Xinjiang, where as many as one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are being held in re-education camps, according to the 2018 findings of an independent UN panel.
After initially denying their existence, Beijing now defends the camps, which it calls ‘vocational education centres’, as a necessary measure to counter religious extremism and terrorism.
But former inmates and rights groups say individuals are subjected to political indoctrination and abuse.
Who are the Chinese Muslims?
Muslims are not a new presence in China. Most of China’s Muslim communities, including the Hui, Uighurs and Kazakhs, have lived in China for more than 1,000 years, according to fact tank Pew Research Center.
The largest concentrations of Muslims today are in the western provinces of Xinjiang, Ningxia, Qinghai and Gansu.
A substantial number of Muslims live in the cities of Beijing, Xi’an, Tianjin and Shanghai.
Chinese Muslim men take part in gathering for the celebration of the Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha, or the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice, at the Niu Jie mosque in Beijing, China
They make up about two per cent of the 1.4 billion population in China. However, as the country is so populous, its Muslim population is expected to be the 19th largest in the world in 2030.
The Muslim population in China is projected to increase from 23.3 million in 2010 to nearly 30 million in 2030.
Those who grow up and live in places dominated by the Han Chinese have little knowledge about Islam – or religions in general – thus view it as a threat.
Beijing’s policymakers are predominately Han.
At the same time, radical Muslim Uighurs have killed hundreds in recent years, causing China to implement even more extreme measures to quash potential separatist movements.
Uighurs in particular have long been used to heavy-handed curbs on dress, religious practice and travel after a series of deadly riots in 2009 in Urumqi, according to the Financial Times.
Schoolchildren were banned from fasting during Ramadan and attending religious events while parents were banned from giving newborns Muslim names such as ‘Mohammed’ and ‘Jihad’.
Certain symbols of Islam, such as beards and the veil, were also forbidden. Women with face-covering veils are sometimes not allowed on buses. Unauthorised pilgrimages to Mecca were also restricted.
Feature Image : AFP