New reports have surfaced of systemic rape being committed against the ethnic minority group of Uyghurs in Chinese detention camps in Xinjiang province.
CNN reports that a whistleblower named Qelbinur Sidik has come forward to reveal that she was witness to numerous rapes and torture that occurred in the facility she was forced to teach in. The CNN report relies solely on the accounts of alleged witnesses.
According to Sidik, a female police officer told her very early on that she was assigned to investigate reports of rape and torture occurring at the facility. Sidik told CNN that the policewoman described to her how male guards at the camp often bragged while drunk about how they “rape and torture girls.” The vast majority of detainees in Xinjiang’s prison camps are Uyghurs.
Sidik said that her first encounter with a new batch of detainees consisted of around 100 men and women, all of whom were shackled with their hands and feet bound by chains. She said that even the strongest among them was eventually broken by the Chinese system governing the camps, where an estimated two million members of the Uyghur minority are being detained.
She said that she witnessed “horrific traged[ies]” at the camp, where women were regularly heard “crying loudly.”
Another whistleblower and alleged witness, Tursunay Ziyawudun, informed the outlet that she had been sent to the camps without being charged with any sort of crime. She told CNN that she spent a month in the camp before authorities released her, only to arrest her a short period later for another nine months. Ziyawudun described the experience as a “nightmare.”
The whistleblower said that large numbers of women were often crammed into small spaces, and allowed minimal time to use basic facilities like toilets. They were often punished for small infractions like using the facilities for too long. Ziyawudun told the outlet that she was once beaten so badly that she passed out during an interrogation session. In another instance, guards forced her onto a table where they raped her with a stun baton, and shocked her until she “blacked out from the pain.”
Ziyawudun says that she was gang-raped several weeks later, an experience that she said happened to her multiple times during her detention in the camps.
“They were extremely sadistic, causing pain and damage to the body by beating and smacking my head on the wall,” Ziyawudun said, “It was their way of punishing us.”
The allegations provided to CNN follow a devastating report earlier this month from the BBC, where other witnesses and former detainees spoke out against the Chinese regime and its detention of Uyghurs.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Communist Party and the publicity department in Xinjiang, Xu Guixiang, denied reports that religious minorities were being rounded up in the province. Xu claimed that the communist government was only cracking down on “heinous and obstinate leaders and backbones of extremist groups.”
An official statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also refused to address the allegations made by the women, but suggested that their accounts were made up.