China Aid is a Christian ministry promoting religious freedom and the rule of law in the communist nation.
While it focuses on persecution of Christians, it is alerting the world to the government’s treatment of citizens in China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The ministry, which supports religious freedom as the groundwork for all other basic human rights, says its sources have described the torture of 20 Kazakh citizens in Xinjiang.
The Kazakhs have been incarcerated at “political training centers,” the ministry said, where they have suffered mental breakdowns.
The report said “the 20 prisoners, who consisted of civil servants, doctors, and other professionals who participated in political activities, were deprived of sleep and bathroom usage and forced to wear helmets that produced noises for 21 hours each day, only allowing them three hours of asleep.”
“They were forced to sing nationalistic songs and recite Chinese. The constant torture caused them to cry and scream all day.
“Fearing that the news would incite hatred of the government, officials transferred the prisoners into a psychiatric institute in Beitun District rather than to a local hospital. For three months now, these prisoners have been held there, and their relatives recently received a notice demanding that they pay 18,000 yuan ($2,855.00 USD) for the treatment,” the report said.
“According to a local Kazakh with information on the case, they were detained for participating in ‘extreme religions,’ which is a common label given to peaceful Muslims. Many of Xinjiang’s Muslims are of Uyghur and Kazakh descent, and the Chinese government often targets these people groups. Currently, officials are arresting members of these communities for trivial charges and sending them to ‘political training centers,’ which is the official term for detention camps,” China Aid said.
The organization said it exposes such abuses “to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.”
Time magazine recently reported demonstrations by Uyghur Muslims around the world in recent weeks to protest China’s sweeping surveillance and security campaign.
Demonstrators claimed thousands have been sent to detention centers.
“More than a hundred Uyghur protesters gathered at a plaza near the United Nations in New York to call on the body to protect their culture against Chinese government efforts to assimilate the Turkic-speaking people. Elsewhere, hundreds of Uyghur women on Istanbul’s Istiklal Street and in front of Sydney Town Hall chanted and waved blue flags, the separatist symbol for a proposed independent state called East Turkistan,” the report said.
China’s Communist Party leaders say the aggressive policing program is needed to kill off a long-enduring separatist movement.
“Growing resentment against authorities in China, and the call of Islamist Uyghur militant groups, has also attracted thousands of Uyghurs to travel to Syria in recent years. But Uyghur activists and international rights groups say the far-reaching security campaign, which has accelerated markedly since 2016, exacerbates tensions and unfairly targets the entire Uyghur population of more than 10 million,” the report said.
“The Chinese government is using the war against terrorism very effectively, using that to portray the Uyghur as a terrorist,” Rushan Abbas, the organizer of the New York protest who showed up with her children, said in Time. “In actuality, the Chinese government is the one who’s acting the terrorist against the Uyghur.”
In a commentary published by the Stockholm Center for Freedom, Abdullah Bozkurt wrote that the Chinese Muslims are being mobilized by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The clandestine web of networks that was set up by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) among Uyghurs and other Muslim groups from Central Asian countries involves not only transporting and facilitating jihadist fighters from China’s Xinxiang region, some of the fiercest and most battle-hardened militants who can only be compared to Russian’s Chechens on the field, but also mobilization of larger diaspora Uyghur groups in Turkey and abroad for a public relations campaign. It is quite a dangerous pattern in that Erdogan and his associates have been sowing the seeds of a jihadist mindset among Uyghurs with the support of state resources which at times manifested itself with the issuance of passports and travel documents and at other times with providing arms and logistical supplies.”
Just last month, hundreds of Muslims from China showed up in Syria, ready to fight.