Hundreds of armed police officers go from house to house in the Uyghur communities in western China, taking people out of their homes, handcuffing them and threatening to shoot them if they resist. A Chinese in exile describes the government’s actions against allegedly innocent Uyghurs. The man, who wants to remain anonymous in order to protect his family members who remained in China, said he was once sent to the Xinjiang troubled region as a police officer.
In one Interview with the American news channel CNN the man reports under the pseudonym “Jiang” about systematic torture against ethnic Uyghurs and about the prison camps in the region. For years, China has denied interning people solely on the basis of their ethnicity. Beijing officially takes the position to fight separatism and Islamist terrorism in Xinjiang.
“They are completely normal people”
Jiang said he was involved in arresting hundreds of people. “We took them all forcibly overnight,” he says. The suspects were charged with terrorist offenses. But he believes that none of the prisoners committed a crime. “They are completely normal people.”
The arrested were then taken to police detention centers. They were tortured there until they made a confession. The methods: chaining to chairs, hanging from the ceiling, electric shocks to the genitals, sexual violence or waterboarding. The prisoners were often forced to stay awake for days. They were also denied food and water, according to Jiang. “Everyone uses different methods. Some even use a crowbar or iron chains with locks, ”says Jiang. “Police face suspects and ask them to confess.”
No independent confirmation
During his time in Xinjiang, Jiang said every new inmate was beaten during interrogation – including men, women, and children under the age of 14. CNN has been unable to independently confirm its claims. The descriptions, however, agree with reports from Uighurs in exile. More than 50 former prisoners from Xinjiang also testified to Amnesty International for a 160-page report.
To underline the veracity of his testimony, Jiang showed his old police uniform to CNN. He also presented photos and official documents from his time in China. Jiang said it was common knowledge among police officers that 900,000 Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities were detained in the area in a single year. The US State Department estimates that up to two million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have been held in detention centers in Xinjiang since 2017.
Fear of returning home
Jiang reports that he was “disappointed” with the Chinese Communist Party even before his time in Xinjiang because of the increasing corruption. Xinjiang Province was treated like a war zone. “I was surprised when I first went there,” he says. “There were security checks everywhere. Many restaurants and bars are closed. “
If he defied the orders, he would have been arrested himself, Jiang says. The Chinese in exile is certain that they will never be able to return to their homeland. “You would half kill me.” The fact that he speaks for the Uyghurs means that he could be charged with involvement in a terrorist organization. “I could be charged with anything imaginable.” (noo)