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Modern Concentration Camps

Currently, we live in a world where concentration camps and genocide are still apart of daily life. These camps exist in western China, the Chinese government describe them as voluntary re-education camps to help re-educate the ethic of the area, the Uyghur Muslims. However, I will be going through multiple different sources to show how China is abusing its Muslim population and trying to wipe them and their culture from the earth.
You’ll hear about how people are being sterilized, separated from their infant children, being forced to eat pork, banned from praying and treated like criminals due to their religious beliefs.

Uighur region



I’ll start with discussing an account given by Gulbahar Jalilova, of her time within one of the “re-education camps” in Xinjiang. She is 54 years old and spent over a year within the camp. She states that she was kept in cramped conditions, sharing a cell with 50 people.
She goes on to tell how women are being sterilised, “they injected us from time to time…We had to stick our arms through a small opening in the door. We soon realised that we didn’t get our periods anymore.” Her claims although shocking, they are not unsubstantiated.

There are many accounts of the same treatment; Mehrigul Tursun, a 30-year-old who now lives in exile within the US, gave a video statement to Amnesty international. She was detained in 2017, given unknown drugs and injections, which made her tired, depressed and that she had lost some of her memories. She was then released for being mentally ill. It was only when she escaped to the US did she find out that she had been sterilized.
Tursun discusses the treatment she endured during 3 different periods of being detained. She claims that she was tortured and abused in the camp, when she first arrived she was interrogated for 4 days straight with no sleep. She then had her head shaved, she was electrocuted and subjected to invasive medical exams.
Once she had been released she fled China, but returned in 2015 but was immediately detained and separated from her infant children. This time she was held for three months, when she was released, she had discovered that one of her triplets had died and the other two had developed severe health problems. She claimed it was obvious the children had been operated on.
The third time she was detained she spent 3 months in a call with 60 other women, they had to take turns sleeping, use toilets that were under direct surveillance and to sing communist songs multiple times a day. Tursun had been broken, “I thought that I would rather die than go through this torture and begged them to kill me”.

The UN believes that one one million people have been detained in western China and are being placed Wartime concentration camps, with a systematic campaign of social engineering and genocide as the end goal.

Abduweili Kebayir, a 25-year-old Uyghur man. Described his “state-mandated salvation”. He tells us how it was the viewing of Islamic videos on his phone that ended him with the detainment centre for 8 months. He claims to be reformed and happier for it. Yet Buckley and Myers discuss how uncomfortable his wife and daughter looked whilst he was giving an interview about his supposed “re-education” whilst 3 Chinese officials are also present. They also discuss how rigidly he spoke “ Now I know the error of my ways …Now I know the difference between right and wrong” I don’t claim to be an expert on indoctrination or brainwashing, yet the story of Abduweili sounds eerily similar to ex-patriated North-Koreans. With a staged room, nervous relatives and government officials present to make sure things go as smooth as possible.
The Chinese Government claim that these camps are built to tackle radical Islam and that most people have been released. Yet when the New York Times had reporters explore the region, they discovered a vast network of camps being constructed. Any efforts to approach the camps by the reporters were blocked by plainclothes security officials, often giving “outlandish explanations”.
When approaching the camp Mr Kebayir was being held in, construction workers pulled power cables into the road and claimed the scene too dangerous to pass. Yet when the reporters had moved away the road was promptly reopened.

Omir Bekali was detained without a trial or lawyer and forced to renounce his faith.
He was kept in prison for several months before being moved to a camp, he said he became suicidal after 20 days. He discussed the horrendous conditions and punishments. If he refused orders he had to stand still facing a wall for 5 hours at a time. Then he’d be sent to solitary and be denied food for 24 hours. When accounting what happened at the camps, Mr Bekali would often break down into tears, particularly when expressing the psychological pressure he felt. “I still think about it every night, until the sun rises. I can’t sleep, the thoughts are with me all the time.”
He tells us how he was forced to eat pork and banned from praying or growing a beard. Essentially stopping him from practising his faith. He also had to sing the national anthem for 30 minutes every day, to which he stated still rings in his head constantly.
He was a Kazakh National who was detained when visiting China and has been one of the few able to get away and to report on the conditions inside the camps.

I believe China is truly trying to hide the atrocities it is committing, a document was leaked to the ICIJ which directly outlined Xi Jinping’s orders on how the camps should be run. Within this 9 page document, the Chinese government claims that the camps are re-education centres, yet they also have rules and conditions that are severely punished when confronted. Examples include; inmates much have a fixed position of their bed, classroom, seat, place in line and must use the toilet when told too. Failure to follow any of these or to request for a change is punished in a variety of severe ways, from beatings, solitary confinement, forced starvation and electrocution, these just the ones we know of.

Here a list produced from the BBC with quotes laid out in the leaked document. Show the scale and intensity of these camps.

“Never allow escape”,
“Increase discipline and punishment of behavioural violations”,
“Promote repentance and confession”,
“Make remedial Mandarin studies the top priority”,
“Encourage students to truly transform”,
“[Ensure] full video surveillance coverage of dormitories and classrooms free of blind spots”.


To show the extremes the Chinese government are going to hide the atrocities, I will be referencing the story of Feroz Aziz, a young woman who used Tik-Tok(a Chinese owned social media ) to raise awareness of the treatment of Muslims in the Uyghur region. She disguised her videos as “Eyelash Tutorials” to ensure that both her audience would engage and also in hopes that her videos do not get deleted.
However this did not work, she was promptly banned, not for denouncing the Chinese government or their treatment of their Muslim population, but rather for her association with another Tik-Tok page that displayed images of Osama-Bin laden. She denied any involvement with the page in question and her account was released on the 28/11/19 with an apology from Tik-Tok claiming that they had made a mistake and her account was not connected to one previously mentioned.

It is clear to see that China has modern concentration camps, very few accounts have gotten out since we discovered China’s secret “re-education” camps. Yet the few that we have, all agree that people are being tortured and abused daily. They’re starved, sterilized, beaten, force-fed, separated from their children, operated and experimented on. Those who try to resist are isolated and broken. The goal of these camps is indoctrination, Xi Jinping is aiming to eradicate Islam from China. His government will kidnap, torture and commit genocide to ensure that the state has total control over every aspect of the lives of its citizens. The need for control is evident by the blocking of a young person’s social media account, the immediate arrest of anyone suspected of being a radical Muslim and the unmoving rules placed on the prisoners forced into the camps.





Further Reading:

Over 35 Countries Defend China

The US warns China trying to erase Muslim culture and religion

China claims “camps” are boarding schools

China Suddenly Blocks BBC

China’s detainment of Muslim’s worst atrocities since Mao era

Why aren’t Muslim leaders stepping in, in Uyghur region?

Women forced to share bed with Chinese Officials