WATCH: Omir Bekali, a Kazakh citizen who was detained in Xinjiang in Western China, describes how he was tortured, interrogated, and brainwashed - all with no warrants or evidence. Now, worried about his detained family, he can't sleep at night. Full vid: https://t.co/FsVIYKUDuF pic.twitter.com/62CFnZgNtx— Dake Kang (@dakekang) May 18, 2018
Four Chinese Muslim ex-inmates have recounted what happened to them while they were being detained in China’s propaganda camps. The torture they endured there is very reminiscent of North Korea’s labor camps.
Around 1 million Uyghurs have been reportedly captured from China’s Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province and detained in the so-called “re-education” camps — camps that seem more and more like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un’s propaganda camps.
There, the inmates endured endless indoctrination and humiliation at the hands of the prison guards. One former prisoner, Kayrat Samarkand, was deemed to be an extremist just for visiting the neighboring Muslim country of Kazakhstan. Another inmate, Omir Bekali is an ethnic Kazakh who was working for a tourism company in the capital city of Xinjiang, Urumqi. For these crimes, they were forced to study communist propaganda in all their waking hours, which involved subjects like “the spirit of the 19th Party Congress,” chanting slogans like “long Live, Xi Jinping, singing “red” songs, listening to President Xi’s talk on and on about his political dogma and giving thanks to the president and the Communist Party for their food, drink, livelihood and everything in between.
They also had to do military-style training in the afternoon and in the evening, write accounts of their day. The inmates started the day with a flag-raising ceremony and also had to learn the national anthem as well as slogans condemning the three evils of separatism, extremism and terrorism.
“There were so many things to recite, and if you couldn’t recite them, they wouldn’t allow you to eat, sleep or sit,” Bekali said. “They brainwash you; you must become like a robot. Listen to whatever the party says, listen to the party’s words, follow the party.”
Anyone who refused to comply or engaged in fights would be thrown in solitary confinement and withheld food and water for days. He would also be shackled in handcuffs and anklecuffs for 12 hours. Further disobedience could result in waterboarding or strapping them to a “tiger chair” — a contraption made form metal rods on which an inmate is made to sit for hours until his legs and buttocks swell and he is in severe agony.
The inmates also said the prison staff provided them with poor-quality, probably rotten food, which often resulted in food poisoning. They were given meat very infrequently, however, pork was another matter. The prisoners were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, both of which are forbidden in Islam, as punishment for being “religious extremists.”
Some inmates committed suicide, Bekali told the Washington Post.
Many of the detainees reportedly are doctors, teachers, journalists, lawyer, business executives, elderly citizens and even breast-feeding mothers.
China has justified its crackdown in Xinjiang as a “war on terror.” However, Adrian Zenz of the European School of Culture and Theology in Korntal, Germany, wrote the onslaught is “increasingly turning into a war on religion, ethnic languages and other expressions of ethnic identity.”
The Chinese government blames the internet and the Uyghur community visiting foreign countries for the influx of, what it dubs as, Islamic extremism in Xinjiang.
Aside from the prison camps, Beijing has also ordered the use of facial recognition technology and forced Muslims to install the “Jing Wang” app on their phones that monitors their activity online. The communist country has banned religious baby names and forbidden the wearing of long beards and veils as well.
In another shocking example of breach of human rights and privacy, over 1 million Communist Party cadres have been sent to spend their days at Muslim homes throughout Xinjiang, according to Human Rights Watch. There, they try to brainwash the families by expounding upon the Communist Party’s political dogma and report anything related to the family’s religious beliefs, alcoholism or hygiene.
Radio Free Asia reported a Chinese official justifying the crackdown in particularly blunt terms.
“You can’t uproot all the weeds hidden among the crops in the field one by one — you need to spray chemicals to kill them all,” the official reportedly said. “Reeducating these people is like spraying chemicals on the crops. That is why it is a general reeducation, not limited to a few people.”
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