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Muslim Women Detained In China’s Vast Camp System Are Reportedly Raped, Sexually Abused And Tortured. Is There No Humanity Left?

February 05, 2021 | by Mitali Shah

Being a woman in this world is not easy. And it’s worse for women belonging to minority groups. It comes with risks and dangers lurking at every nook and corner. Take the condition of Dalit women in India. They are carelessly oppressed, exploited and left in the most vulnerable conditions. But today, we aren’t talking about Dalit women. In fact, what we are discussing today is much, much worse. The state of women in China’s system of detention camps for ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims. Reports suggest that they are subjected to brutal rape, torture and severe sexual abuse on a regular basis. People argue that these detention camps are nothing short of a modern day holocaust. The conditions in which the women are detained are bone-chilling, to say the least.

According to a recent report by BBC, women in China’s vast and secretive system of detention camps for Uighurs and other Muslims are allegedly subjected to beatings, rape, gangrape and the worst kinds of torture. These camps exist in the western region of Xinjiang. Independent estimates suggest that more than a million men and women have been detained in these camps that China claims are there to “re-educate” Uighur Muslims and other minorities.

Several former detainees spoke to the BBC about the horrors they experienced during their time in the camps. The report reads, “several former detainees and a guard have told the BBC they experienced or saw evidence of an organized system of rape, sexual abuse and torture.”

Also Read:In A Brave Move, Woman Calls Out China For Its Rising Domestic Violence Cases Through Her Song.

Tursunay Ziawudun, who fled Xinjiang, China after her release now lives in the US. She told the BBC that every night, women were removed from their cells and raped by one or more Chinese masked men. After a while, she too was tortured and gang-raped, on three occasions, by two or three men. That’s not even the worst of the tortures she endured. During her second stint in a camp, she was thrashed brutally. Then one night, she was taken to the “dark room” where an electric stick was pushed inside her “genital tract”, torturing her with electric shocks.

The BBC also interviewed a woman from Kazakhstan, Gulzira Auelkhan, who was detained in those nightmarish camps for nearly 18 months. In the camp system, she was forced to strip Uighur women stark naked, handcuff them so they couldn’t move and leave them with Chinese men. She told the BBC, “My job was to remove their clothes above the waist and handcuff them so they cannot move. Then I would leave the women in the room and a man would enter – some Chinese man from outside or policeman. I sat silently next to the door, and when the man left the room I took the woman for a shower.”

Gulzira indicated that the Chinese men, “would pay money to have their pick of the prettiest young inmates.” As much as she wanted to, Gulzira said she was powerless to help these women or intervene.

Some of these women, who were taken from their cells, were never returned. And the ones who were returned were threatened to never tell anyone what had happened. Gulzira said, “You can’t tell anyone what happened, you can only lie down quietly. It is designed to destroy everyone’s spirit.”

These experiences are so deeply disturbing they almost seem unreal. It’s almost as if in that part of China, humanity has ceased to exist.

Obviously, Beijing denies these accusations of abuse in the camps of Xinjiang. They are sticking to the story that the structures set up in that area provide vocational training to help weed out Islamist extremism and separatism. They say that some people in those facilities have “graduated”. On Wednesday, talking about the BBC report, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that it was presented without any “factual basis”. He also said that the people that the BBC had interviewed have been proven to be actors who are “disseminating false information.”

This BBC report is not the first survey to suggest that women in the detention camps in China are being tortured and abused. Last year, a report by German researcher Adrian Zenz suggested that women in these camps are subjected to forced sterilisation and forced abortions.

These are nightmarish ordeals. How inhumane do people have to be to put women through these kinds of things? Rape, sexual abuse and torture with an electric stick, it’s complete anarchy. Hopefully, if enough awareness spreads, there will be independent investigations conducted into all the horrors these women are being subjected to.


Mitali Shah

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