China: Uyghur Concentration Camp Victims Are ‘Actors’

TOPSHOT - This photo taken on May 31, 2019 shows two women decorating a grave in a Uighur graveyard on the outskirts of Hotan in China's northwest Xinjiang region. - China has enforced a massive security crackdown in Xinjiang, where more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other mostly Muslim …
GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty

A representative of the Communist Party in western Xinjiang, China, claimed every single person who has testified to being tortured and forced into slavery at a Chinese concentration camp was an “actor,” the People’s Daily reported on Monday.

The People’s Daily is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

China began building concentration camps in Xinjiang in 2017. By the end of 2018, the Reuters news organization had documented evidence of the existence of 1,200 concentration camps in Xinjiang, used to house Muslims of Uyghur, Kazakh, and other ethnic backgrounds. The majority of China’s Uyghur population live in Xinjiang. A year later, the Pentagon estimated that China was imprisoning up to 3 million people in the camps.

A very small number of those 3 million have managed to escape, and an even smaller number have publicly discussed the suffering they endured there. The survivors who have spoken out have testified to widespread communist indoctrination through torture, including sleep and food deprivation and severe beatings, gang rape, and rape in front of hundreds of other prisoners for those who failed to learn Mandarin or properly revere dictator Xi Jinping. Some have testified to the use of hammers to break limbs, electric torture devices for rape, the use of a “tiger chair” to force prisoners into painful positions, and widespread use of prisoners for slave labor.

Outside of the concentration camps, the Communist Party has implemented surveillance technology extensively on the streets of every major Xinjiang city and required GPS monitoring of all cars in the region. Extensive evidence also suggests a mass campaign to sterilize Uyghur women, an attempt to limit the growth of that population, and a “relatives” program in which ethnic Han men are sent to live with the wives of concentration camps prisoners, including forcing them to sleep in the same bed as the women.

A report published last week by Adrian Zenz, one of the world’s top scholars of Chinese policies in Xinjiang, citing leaked Chinese government data suggests a nearly 50-percent drop in Xinjiang birth rates between 2017 and 2019. Zenz’ peer-reviewed report suggested that the colonizing Han population of Xinjiang could nearly triple in the recent future as Uyghur birth rates continue to decline.

Human rights activists have noted that the elimination of a population through mass sterilization, forced abortions, and infanticide fits the legal definition of genocide. The United States is among the countries that have identified the campaign against the Uyghurs as a genocide.

The most recent event at which survivors testified was the “Uyghur Tribunal” held in London this month.

Xu Guixiang, a spokesman for the Communist Party in Xinjiang, branded the Uyghur Tribunal “illegal” in a press conference Friday and described all participants as “actors.”

“The British tribunal, opened on June 4, was set up by Western anti-China forces and East Turkestan [Xinjiang] organizations, groups of secessionists advocating Uygur ‘independence,'” Xu claimed, according to the People’s Daily. “It has invited a dozen so-called anti-China experts and scholars to prove a nonexistent lie of ‘genocide’ by the Chinese government against the Uygur ethnic group.”

“It is simply a shameless act by people who treat the law as child’s play,” Xu insisted, calling the fact that over 20 individuals testified at the tribunal “beyond common sense and comprehension.”

“It is unbelievable for some Western countries and international organizations to regard their false stories as evidence and it is also laughable for the court to put the habitual liars as witnesses,” another Xinjiang spokesman at the conference reportedly said, referring to the witnesses as “actors.”

China coupled its complaint with the promotion through state propaganda outlets of a letter allegedly written by a Uyghur man living in Kashgar seeking legal redress from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), a prominent think tank, for publishing a report that exposed Beijing’s use of Uyghur concentration camp victims as slaves. The report, “Uyghurs for Sale,” accused 83 multinational companies of using Chinese factories that purchased Xinjiang concentration camp victims to use as slaves elsewhere in the country.

The alleged Uyghur letter writer is seeking compensation for “defamation” of his character.

“I noticed my hometown Xinjiang has long been slandered. After hearing the news on ASPI’s report, I found it and read through it with the help of a translator,” the man, identified as Nuradli Wublikas, told the Chinese state-run Global Times. “The report is full of lies! I was born and grew up in Xinjiang and know so many Uygurs living and working in other cities across the country, and no one is ‘forced’ to work outside! It really made me angry that we Uygurs are portrayed by the Australian think tank report as lazy people who need to be ‘forced’ to work.”

Wublikas did not specify where he is seeking to sue the ASPI, though he likely has the most access to a Chinese court.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry defended Wublikas on Monday.

“The Uyghur people, including Nuradli Wublikas, have the right to seek legal redress to combat all sorts of lies on Xinjiang and defend their rights and interests according to law,” spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.