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China: Haunting portrait of a Uyghur Muslim in the Xinjiang detention center

Haunting portrait of a weeping Uyghur Muslim in a Chinese

Hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims are believed to have been detained against their will in China (Image: Xinjiang Police Files/Dr Adrian Zenz)

This portrait of a crying Uyghur woman reveals the heartbreaking human reality in China’s concentration camps.

Beijing has long been accused of discriminating against its minority Uyghur Muslims.

The government began building so-called “re-education camps” in the northwest region of Xinjiang in 2017 – after Uyghurs were blamed for several terrorist attacks.

But the country’s leaders have always dismissed claims of human rights abuses as “misinformation” and insisted the schools are “helping people break free from extremism”.

Now the BBC has released a damning report that claims to prove that up to 1.2 million people have been jailed and mistreated “not for what they did, but for who they are”.

A catalog of photos has surfaced of inmates apparently taken in Tekes County, deviating from the tags on their uniforms.

Some of the harrowing images show people with tears in their eyes, with “broken spirits” and shaved heads and beards.

Repeating the warnings of many Holocaust researchers, the portraits share a disturbing resemblance to those taken of Jewish people in Nazi death camps.

Hawagul Tewekkul with tears in his eyes. New photos and files reveal the horrors of how Uyghur Muslims suffer in Xinjiang

Hawagul Tewekkul, 50, was detained for re-education for unknown reasons in October 2017 (Photo: Xinjiang Police Files/Dr. Adrian Zenz)

The prisoner ID card photos of prisoner #57846, an inmate brought from France to the German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, in 1942. New photos and files reveal the horrors of how Uyghur Muslims suffer in

Some of the photos of Uyghurs look disturbingly similar to photos Nazis took of Jews before murdering them (Image: Getty)

Reasons for the detention of Uyghurs

Hacked Xinjiang police files contain more than 5,000 photos of Uyghurs taken between January and July 2018.

At least 2,884 of those people are said to have been arrested on terrorism charges.

While the rest can officially be considered “students” in a re-education camp, the evidence shows that there is little difference between the two.

Many have been imprisoned on “undisclosed” grounds, while others have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for “crimes” including traveling to Muslim-majority countries, growing a beard and living as a relative of someone with “strong religious leanings”.

A man with a shaved beard. New photos and files reveal the horrors of how Uyghur Muslims suffer in Xinjiang

This 58-year-old was jailed for 16 years and 11 months for “growing a beard under the influence of religious extremism” (Image: Xinjiang Police Files/Dr Adrian Zenz)

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A man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for not drinking or smoking because of his “strong religious leanings”. His mother was also imprisoned just because they were related.

There are several examples in the 452 spreadsheets of people retrospectively jailed for “crimes” committed years ago.

A man was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2017 for “studying the Islamic scriptures with his grandmother” in 2010.

How is it in the Xinjiang camps?

Many portraits of prisoners or “students” show guards armed with batons in the background.

Other photos appear to show guards practicing subjugation exercises on inmates whose faces are covered with black hoods and whose wrists and ankles are shackled.

Internal protocols listed in the files specifically state that “students” must wear handcuffs, shackles and blindfolds when being transferred between facilities or to the hospital.

These images show detention center police safety drills at the Tekes County Detention Center in 2018, captured by the detention center photographer. New photos and files reveal the horrors of how Uyghur Muslims suffer in Xinjiang

These photos are believed to show guards at Tekes Detention Center practicing exercises (Image: Xinjiang Police Files/Dr Adrian Zenz)

These images show detention center police safety drills at the Tekes County Detention Center in 2018, captured by the detention center photographer. New photos and files reveal the horrors of how Uyghur Muslims suffer in Xinjiang

Guards were often pictured with batons in different areas of the camp (Image: Xinjiang Police Files/Dr. Adrian Zenz)

These images show detention center police safety drills at the Tekes County Detention Center in 2018, captured by the detention center photographer. New photos and files reveal the horrors of how Uyghur Muslims suffer in Xinjiang

Internal protocols require all “students” to be moved around handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded (Image: Xinjiang Police Files/Dr Adrian Zenz)

There is a roster of guard shifts in all areas of the camp, with anyone armed with machine guns and sniper rifles stationed on watchtowers.

There is also a shoot-to-kill policy for anyone attempting to escape.

You see groups of people standing in a line and reciting something – a possible example of indoctrination programs.

Previously leaked documents quote officials saying the purpose of the camps is to “break (Uyghur) roots, break their lineage, break their connections, break their origins.”

The Xinjiang Police Records

Someone claiming to have hacked police servers in Xinjiang sent the files to Dr. Adrian Zenz – who conducts research at the US-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

He turned the files over to the BBC and the images were verified by several image forensic scientists.

There was evidence that some of the images were copied and rotated slightly, but the images are believed to be used as part of China’s efforts to develop facial recognition technology for its surveillance programs.

It’s unclear exactly how many people were detained, but Dr. Zenz predicts that in Shufu County alone, 22,762 residents were in a prison or camp in 2017 and 2018.

That is 12% of the adult population.

Rahile Omer - the youngest person on record arrested. New photos and files reveal the horrors of how Uyghur Muslims suffer in Xinjiang

Rahile Omer was the youngest person arrested – she was 15 at the time (Image: Xinjiang Police Files/Dr Adrian Zenz)

73-year-old Anihan Hamit – the oldest person on record. New photos and files reveal the horrors of how Uyghur Muslims suffer in Xinjiang

Anihan Hamit, 73, was the oldest detained person on record (Image: Xinjiang Police Files/Dr Adrian Zenz)

If you apply this statistic to all of Xinjiang, it would mean that 1.2 million people have been detained.

The youngest person on record was Rahile Omer, who was only 15 when arrested. The eldest was 73-year-old Anihan Hamit.

The Chinese government did not respond to information in the files, but issued a statement that said: “Issues related to Xinjiang are fundamentally about countering violent terrorism, radicalization and separatism, not about human rights or religion. “

The spokesman further claimed that China’s “firm, robust and effective de-radicalization measures” in Xinjiang have achieved “social stability and harmony, as well as economic development”.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/24/haunting-portrait-of-crying-uyghur-muslim-at-chinese-detention-camp-16699284/ China: Haunting portrait of a Uyghur Muslim in the Xinjiang detention center

Justin Scacco

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