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Disappearances, torture, repeated rape, electric shock in genitals: Survivor narrates how Chinese men brutalise Uyghur Muslim women

A 42-year-old former detainee named Tursunay Ziawudun said that Uyghur women were forcibly taken out of their jail cells each night in a dark room and subsequently raped by several masked Chinese men.

Even as China continues to reject the allegations of ongoing human rights abuses, including sexual assault, in the Xinjiang region, the atrocities against the Uyghur Muslims continue. In a recent revelation by news network BBC, the former detainees of the concentration camps in Xinjiang have spoken out against the brutal sexual torture at the hands of the Chinese regime.

A 42-year-old former detainee named Tursunay Ziawudun, who spent about 9 months in one such camp, stated excruciating details about sexual abuse and organised rape by Han men. She said that Uyghur women were forcibly taken out of their jail cells each night in a dark room and subsequently raped by several masked Chinese men. The victim admitted that she was gang-raped on three occasions.

According to Ziawudun, several women who were forcibly taken away from their cells at night never returned. Recounting the dehumanisation, she emphasised, “You can’t tell anyone what happened, you can only lie down quietly. It is designed to destroy everyone’s spirit.” During her interrogation by the police, she was kicked in the abdomen, resulting in profuse bleeding and blood clot.

Inmates had electric sticks inserted in genital tracts

On one fateful night in May 2018, Ziawudun was evicted out of her cell and presented before a Chinese man. When the men learnt about her condition, they were furious. She was escorted to a dark room and subjected to gruesome sexual torture. “They had an electric stick, I didn’t know what it was, and it was pushed inside my genital tract, torturing me with an electric shock,” she reminisced.

She narrated, “They don’t only rape but also bite all over your body, you don’t know if they are human or animal. They didn’t spare any part of the body, they bit everywhere leaving horrible marks. It was disgusting to look at. I’ve experienced that three times. And it is not just one person who torments you, not just one predator. Each time they were two or three men.” Ziawudun was released from the camp in December 2018.

While recounting the plight of a former cellmate turned alcoholic, she concluded, “(The woman was) like someone who simply existed, otherwise she was dead, completely finished by the rapes. They say people are released, but in my opinion, everyone who leaves the camps is finished. Their goal is to destroy everyone. And everybody knows it.”

Tasked to strip Uyghur women naked prior to rape

Gulzira Auelkhan, a woman from Kazakhstan who was detained for 18 months in one secretive facility, told the BBC that she was coerced into stripping Uyghur women naked, handcuffing and presenting them to Chinese men. She was also forced to clean the rooms after the men systematically raped the women. She added that the perpetrators would pay money to choose the ‘prettiest’ detainee.

The woman recounted, “My job was to remove their clothes above the waist and handcuff them so they cannot move. Then I would leave the women in the room and a man would enter – some Chinese man from outside or policeman. I sat silently next to the door, and when the man left the room I took the woman for a shower.” She said that she felt powerless and had no option other than to assist in the heinous crime.

Teachers at Uyghur camps recount the horror

Qelbinur Sedik, a Chinese language forced to teach at a concentration camp, had approached a policewoman to inquire about the brutal stories of rape and sexual torture in the camp. The cop informed, “Yes, the rape has become a culture. It is gang rape and the Chinese police not only rape them but also electrocute them. They are subject to horrific torture.” The revelation kept Sedik awake all night, forcing her to think about her daughter who had been studying abroad.

Another teacher at the concentration camp, Sayragul Sauytbay, stated that the camp guards took young women away whenever they wanted. “(There were) four kinds of electric shock- the chair, the glove, the helmet, and anal rape with a stick”. She had witnessed the public gang rape of a 20-year-old woman, who was presented before 100 other inmates to make a forced confession.

She added, “After that, in front of everyone, the police took turns to rape her. While carrying out this test, they watched people closely and picked out anyone who resisted, clenched their fists, closed their eyes, or looked away, and took them for punishment. It was absolutely horrendous. I felt I had died. I was dead.”

Detention of Uyghurs is largest since the Holocaust, claims report

A sub-committee of Canada’s House of Commons stated that China has detained over 2 million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in ‘concentration camps’, making it the largest mass detention of minorities since the Holocaust. The situation is grim as the detainees have no access to legal aid, often resulting in an indefinite period of detention and complete isolation from the outside world. “Witnesses stated that punishment for breaking rules can be swift and violent and that women and girls are regularly subjected to sexual abuse and other forms of gender-based violence,” it stated.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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