It has been defined as the “largest mass incarceration since World War II”.  Confirmed the existence of nearly 400 detention camps in China where Muslims are tortured, forced into forced labor, converting and drinking alcohol. In November 2019 Feroza Aziz, 17, pretending to do a make-up tutorial on the chinese social network Tiktok, has denounced the situation of repression for Muslims in China. The news of these camps has attracted the attention of the press and world public opinion and, thanks to some video footage, the result of an investigation by the online newspaper Bitter Winter, we were informed of what’s inside of these prison camps.

It seems that the Chinese authorities have interned about one million Uighurs distributed, according to satellite images obtained by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in 380 internment centers in Xinjiang. From the images captured, we can see that the camps are often located near factory complexes, which suggests the direct link between arbitrary detention and forced labor. Supervised 24/7 hour, these camps are intended for “rebellious” or “dangerous” Muslims arrested even for trivial reasons and locked up here without being subjected to regular trial. Having the Koran, not eating pork, praying regularly or growing a beard could land a person in a Chinese political indoctrination camp or in prison. All of this because after the 11th September 2001 attacks chinese people have started to take precautionary and restrictive measures against minorities religious, arguing that could have been affected by the flu of Islamic extremism and become potential terrorists.

“Voluntary training at work” this is the definitions that Beijing gives to the re-education camps that in reality are secret places of forced ideological and behavioral rehabilitation. Here people are handcuffed, their heads are shaved. They live in a small room and have a bucket as a bathroom. They are forced to renounce their beliefs and to praise the Communist Party, to work up to 16 hours a day, even to drink alcohol and eat pork (practices prohibited by the Islamic religion). Initially the Beijing authorities denied its existence, but due to the numerous testimonies in our possession of people who have suffered torture, rape and abuse of all kinds (one of the most important is of a teacher who fled from China, Sayragul Sauytbay), was forced to confirm them and describe them as “voluntary vocational training and re-education programs”, insisting that there are no human rights violations in Xinjiang. However documents stolen and disseminated by the international press show “the largest mass incarceration of an ethnic-religious minority since the Second World War”. Documents deemed by the Chinese government, of course, to be “falsification of fake news”.

The latest, shocking, testimony reached newspapers and televisions around the world thanks to the BBC, which circulated a shocking video in which you can see hundreds of prisoners kneeling, blindfolded, kept under the threat of arms of soldiers or agents of the Chinese secret police. In the following sequences they are pushed onto railroad cars. To prevent this horrible situation from falling into oblivion we have to spread the news, because as Feroza said: “We cannot remain silent while another holocaust is taking place before our eyes.”

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Miriam Munafò


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