China | Amnesty Report: Every Uighur released from a “retraining camp” reported torture or ill-treatment: “China must end systematic persecution”

The human rights organization Amnesty International has been studying the situation of the Uighurs for four years and is calling for an international investigation into “retraining camps”.

Human Rights Organization Amnesty International released a comprehensive report on Thursday interviewing 55 people released from a “retraining camp”. Each interviewee reported being a victim of torture or other ill-treatment.

According to Amnesty, the evidence shows that the Chinese government has committed crimes against humanity. Crimes include, at a minimum, the imprisonment or deprivation of liberty, torture and persecution of an identifiable community.

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“China must immediately dismantle prison camps, release those arbitrarily detained and end the systematic persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang,” says Amnesty Secretary General Agnès Callamard report.

Amnesty gathered evidence from “retraining camps” similar to prison camps and beyond in 2017–2021.

Uighurs are China’s largest Muslim minority. They differ in language and culture from the Chinese majority population of Han Chinese. There are about 11 million Uighurs living in the Xinjiang Province in northwest China.

An extensive surveillance system and a network of prison camps have been developed in China. According to Amnesty, more than a million Uighurs may have been locked up in prison camps.

According to the people interviewed by Amnesty, the grounds for the arrests may have been, for example, owning a religious image or communicating with someone living abroad. In 2020, the Chinese authorities a year a list of reasons for similar arrests.

Read more: Data leak reveals which “sins” take Uighurs to retrain in China

Human rights organizations call the ongoing situation ethnic cleansing and cultural assassination. According to the BBC several countries, such as the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands, have accused China of genocide.

Every The person interviewed by Amnesty said he had been the victim of torture or other ill-treatment. The torture was both psychological and physical.

“Imagine that suddenly a group of cops invades your home, puts you in handcuffs and puts a black Hood on your head,” said one of the interviewees.

Already at the police stations, they are undergoing medical procedures, the reasons for which were not told when asked. A metal chair is often used during interrogations and also at the camp, to which the prisoner was handcuffed.

“The man sat in a chair for three days, we weren’t allowed to help him or else we would get in the chair ourselves. The man died after he was taken away, ”said one of the interviewees.

Imprisoned live in camps according to a strict program and have no opportunity for any kind of privacy or self-determination. For example, speaking your own language carries severe penalties.

During the first weeks or months of camp, those imprisoned must spend their waking hours in complete silence, sitting or kneeling. This is followed by “education” aimed at secession from Islam and an end to the use of one’s own language as well as cultural customs.

In addition, people have been beaten, given electric shocks, held in isolation, extreme cold and painful postures, and have been banned from food, drink or sleep.

High barbed wire fences have been built around the “retraining camp”. Photo from 2018.

Leirin outside, their rights to privacy, free movement and freedom of expression are restricted and monitored electronically and by the country’s authorities. According to the report, the Uighurs may be one of the most closely watched nations in the world.

In late 2019, it was reported that Chinese party officials moved to live in the home of Uighur families to observe their lives. This often happened when the husband was sent to camps.

Read more: Chinese party officials go to persecuted Uighur families to live and even share a bed

Suspicious activity has been defined as, for example, religious events and the use of Whatsapp or other prohibited communication platforms.

Mosques, shrines and burial sites important to the Uighurs, as well as culturally significant sites, have been systematically destroyed.

“The United Nations must launch an independent investigation into violators of international law and bring those responsible to justice,” Callamard insists.

Read more: The warm shirt I bought from Muji started to feel chilling – Do we have a shirt made of forced labor in each of our closets and what can be done about it?

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