Religion, Repression and Rape in China


China is on a mission to expand; to expand its diplomatic capital, it’s markets, and it’s influence. China is working to push all those who oppose these expansions to the sideline. The Uighers, however, wanted no part in that. Located in the far western Xinjiang province of China, the Uigher Muslim community has been living detached from Beijing for hundreds of years. Practicing their own religion, customs, and way of life far away from the government’s influence. Now China is looking to change that.

“Their goal is to destroy everyone” says Tursunay Ziawudun who spent nine months in a Chinese “re-education camp.” Ziawudun is among many former detainees of camps that China says serve as “de-radicalization” and “integration” centers, that are now speaking out, alleging mass abuse and systemic torture at the hands of their captures. 

Ziawudun says that she was subject to constant rape and torture by her gaurds. Men would come from all around and “pay to have the youngest and prettiest girls.” Ziawudun said some girls who were taken away were never seen again while others who did returned were threatened with severe torture if they spoke out. Most of her testimony was far too graphic to print, but what she has said paints a horrifying picture of mass rape and abuse within the camps.

Ziawudun says when she first arrived at the camp she and a large group of women were herded “like cows” into a dark room. There their jewelry was yanked from their head causing Ziawudun’s ears to bleed. She says that they were screamed at for wearing long modest dresses and headscarves which are common religious practises among Muslims. Their scarves were torn from their heads and they were stripped down to their underwear.

This is not the first time allegations of abuse have come from China. Former inmates report mass sterilization among the men, banning of all religious practices, torture, and forced servitutde to the Chinese government. China has denied all allegations saying that the programs are merely for the de-radicalization of the Muslim community. Considering the government’s track record of denying mass genocides in the past many people aren’t quick to buy their story. 

The international community has made no real effort to stop the Chinese from their well known oppression. From ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the east, to banning religious practises in the south, and killing protesters in Hong Kong, China continues it’s tyrannical practises with little pushback. Many wonder when the world will decide that enough is enough. 

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