The families torn apart by Uighur detention camps

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Manage episode 285376275 series 1301402
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China calls them centres for re-education. The United States says the actions of the state amount to genocide. As more testimonies emerge from China’s “re-education” camps in the Xinjiang region of China, Colin Murray speaks to a former detainee who recounts appalling abuses, a reporter who posed as a tourist to gain access to the region, and a Uighur American who fears he’ll never see his mother again following her internment. Independent estimates suggest more than a million men and women have been detained in the network of camps, while human rights groups allege mass detention and forced sterilization - both allegations are denied by the Chinese government. Journalist Isobel Yeung describes her experience of China’s Orwellian surveillance and harassment first-hand during her time in Xinjiang, and how she captured hidden-camera footage of multiple Uighur men being detained by police in the middle of the night: “It's almost laughable the amount of reasons that a Uighur individual could end up in a very high security prison essentially. People told me that they'd been imprisoned for wearing a headscarf or from having WhatsApp on their phone, or from reading Arabic on their phone. The list goes on and on and on and it's incredible. Almost every Uighur individual is seen as a direct security threat, and that is exactly how they're treated.” Uighur-American engineer, Ferkat Jawdat left China in 2011 but his mother was denied a passport despite being granted an American visa. She's since been repeatedly detained in camps and following her release is still not allowed to leave her home. Ferkat has become an activist and leading voice on the treatment of the Uighur people but says he’s been warned to stop speaking out: “In 2019 I had a meeting with (the US) former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. So after three days I learnt that my mum was being transferred from the camp to a prison and then I received a message that I had to stop speaking out. If not, that I would lose my mum forever.” Tursunay Ziawudun spent two periods detained in a camp in Xinjiang. The second stint lasted nine months, and it’s during this time she says she was raped and tortured: “For a woman, who suffered from gang rapes it’s an unspeakable shame, but if I don’t speak up I have siblings and their children there, and our future generations are living there, and what is going to happen to our Uyghur women and their children? Bearing in mind of all those who are still suffering, I am prepared to make all sacrifices.” “How many women like me have suffered their abuse, I am not the only one, many of them are so young and innocent, I appeal to the world that it must not standby idly, I wish to believe and hope that the world will act.”

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