More than one million Uyghurs are reportedly held in these concentration camps across the north of China, which is being called the largest mass incarceration since the Holocaust.
New reports are emerging from former detainees of China’s horrendous concentration camps that the state is forcibly sterilizing Muslim women from the ethnic Uyghur population. Numerous Uyghur Muslims, who have managed to only just share their stories now, are painting an even more terrifying reality of what it’s like as a Muslim minority in China’s state-run detention camps.
Gulbahar Jalilova, speaking to France 24, was held in China’s detention camps for more than a year and was often held in cells with more than 50 people crammed into a 10ft by 20ft space. She recounted her horrifying experience with forced sterilization:
They injected us from time to time. We had to stick our arms out through a small opening in the door. We soon realized that after our injections we didn’t get our periods anymore. It’s just like we were a piece of meat.”
Mehrigul Tursun, who also spoke to Amnesty International in Tokyo while in exile in the US, explained that she was given injections without being told what they were while she was held in China’s detention camps in Xinjiang. It was only later when she was in the US that doctors told her she had been sterilized. After initial injections while in the camps, she stated:
[I] felt tired for about a week, lost my memories, and felt depressed.”
China has long been accused and guilty of human rights abuses, most recently in its violations towards the rights of its Muslim majority Uyghur population in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. More than one million Uyghurs are reportedly held in concentration camps across the north of China, which is being called the largest mass incarceration since the Holocaust.
The Chinese government claims these concentration camps are “re-education centers” to house potential terrorists and extremists, but in reality these ethnic Muslims are victims of China’s most recent cultural genocide against its minorities. Uyghur Muslims can be taken to jail for simply praying, having a beard, or showing any sign of religious identity, and once in these camps many are subject to torture, forced confessions, or even death.
More than 37 nations have recently penned an open letter in support of China’s “remarkable achievements in the field of human rights”, including many Muslim-majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan. While China must be held to account for its abhorrent human rights record, it is also countries like these that support China that must also be held to account for letting one of modern day’s worst human rights abuse go unchecked.