As China continues its "scorched earth" policy, up to a million Xinjiang Uyghurs have been detained and tortured since April 2017.
Urumqi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A 34-year-old Muslim Uyghur father of two, Abdughappar Abdujappar, died from health complications following six months in a re-education camp in Hili Hasake (Xinjiang), RFA has reported. Similarly, a Uyghur woman in her 60s also recently died at a camp in Bayanday township, whilst a young man from the area passed away late last year after becoming ill in detention.
Since April 2017, Uyghurs accused of harbouring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” views have been jailed or detained in re-education camps throughout China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Many others have been locked up in local psychiatric hospitals pushing them over the edge. For example, on 4 April, 20 Kazakh citizens suffered mental breakdowns after being incarcerated at “political training centres,” ChinaAid, a US-base Protestant organisation, recently learnt.
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. 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 to a psychiatric institute in Beitun District rather than to a local hospital. For the past three months, these prisoners have been held there, and their relatives have recently received a notice demanding that they pay 18,000 yuan (,855.00 USD) for the treatment.
One Uyghur exile group estimates that up to 1 million Uyghurs have been detained since April of last year.
Since 2017, Beijing has pursued a scorched earth policy in Xinjiang. In order to block possible radical Afghan or Pakistani influence, China has imposed tight control on mosques, young people, and the religious life of local communities.