Published On: Wed, Jun 19th, 2019

China opens ‘re-education camps’ as UN claim 1 million people held | World | News

Share This

The centre located in the western region of Xinjiang has been condemned internationally as UN experts believe up to one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres. China had previously denied the facilities existence but now states the centres are just training schools. Authorities describe it as “education training centres” and are there to stamp out extremism and give people new skills.

The BBC was given rare access and the centre was portrayed as one where people can sing, improve their Mandarin and be educated in politics.

However on closer inspection of the building in northwest China, parts of the camp were reportedly guarded with barbed-wire and watchtowers – which had been removed prior to the visit.

Shocking pictures also revealed the dormitories were shared by 10 people with only one toilet between them.

There was also large parts of the camp cordoned off prevent access for visitors.

However workers denied they were ‘prisoners’ but “students who are willingly being guided away from extremism”.

One worker, under close guard from government officials listening to every word, told the BBC: “They are affected by religious extremism.

“Our purpose is to get rid of their extremist thoughts.”

However a former inmate, Bekali, a Kazakh Muslim, gave a very different version of events.

He said if he refused to follow orders each day, he would be punished and forced to stand at a wall for five hours at a time.

He would also be sent to solitary confinement and deprived of food for 24 hours straight.

He told the Press Association in 2018: “The psychological pressure is enormous, when you have to criticise yourself, denounce your thinking — your own ethnic group.”

He added: “I still think about it every night, until the sun rises. I can’t sleep. The thoughts are with me all the time.”

Rakhima Senbay, who now lives in Kazakhstan says she spent a year in the camp.

Ms Senbay claims she was sent to the camp simply because she had WhatsApp on her phone and described her traumatic experience.

She told the BBC: “They put cuffs on my legs for a week. There were times when we were beaten. Once, I was struck with an electric baton.”

She added: “They warned us ahead of the journalists’ visits, ‘If any of you speak out, you will go to a place worse than this’. That’s why everyone is scared and does what they’re told, including the dancing and singing.”

Chinese officials deny the camps are a crackdown on the country’s Muslim ethnic groups.

Chinese ambassador to Kazakhstan Zhang Xiao denied any wrongdoing by Beijing, rejecting the allegations as “false information”.

Mr Zhang said: “The situation there is stable and normal. Measures conducted in Xinjiang are exclusively about fighting against radicalism and extremism and have nothing to do with Kazakhstan.”

Source link

About the Author