“I spent seven days of hell there,” he says. “My hands were handcuffed, my legs were tied. They threw me in a pit. I raised both my hands and looked above. At that moment, they poured water. I screamed.”
– Orynbek Koksybek, (BBC, 2019)
The Uyghur community existed in North-West China for over several centuries, and have a long history of their homeland in today’s autonomous region of Xinjiang. There are 11 million Uyghurs in province, and since its annexation by China in 1949, they have faced numerous types of discrimination. Primarily criminalised by adhering to their Islamic faith.
There has been a strong drive recently for the Uyghur community to be assimilated to the norms and values of the chinese. The Uyghur already have a strong cultural identity with strong roots to their faith, and are currently being persecuted for both in their homeland.
Over a million people have been forcibly placed in internment camps in the Xinjiang province of China, there are over 85 such detention camps already identified, most built in a year (between 2017 – 2018). These have been also called Re-Education Centres under the guise of rehabilitation of citizens.
Laws have been passed targeting symbols of the Islamic faith, such as long beards, and veils. Countless mosques in the region have also been destroyed and demolished. There are credible reports of brainwashing, systematic rape and extensive physical abuse such as fingernails ripped out and forced abortions as well as sterilisations.
There is a global outcry over the treatments of the Uyghur, but very little has been done or can be done. Lonely Orphans have managed to access and aid the Uyghur exiles that exist in countries like Turkey, who have taken them in.
There we have first hand heard harrowing stories corroborating the widely reported numerous types of abuse. Many children have been orphaned or have missing parents, many have their family members missing, with no sign of life or news. Living in fear after escaping surveillance state has left a number of them in fear even if they are in relative safety.
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