CNN has published an important story in which a former Chinese policeman describes in vivid, first-person terms, how he systematically tortured Uyghurs to garner false confessions. He was told when assigned to the crackdown that he was arresting terrorists. But he soon learned they were just ordinary people living routine lives disapproved of by the regime.
The ex-detective turned whistleblower asked to be identified only as Jiang, to protect his family members who remain in China. In a three-hour interview with CNN, conducted in Europe where he is now in exile, Jiang revealed rare details on what he described as a systematic campaign of torture against ethnic Uyghurs in the region’s detention camp system, claims China has denied for years.
“Kick them, beat them (until they’re) bruised and swollen,” Jiang said, recalling how he and his colleagues used to interrogate detainees in police detention centers. “Until they kneel on the floor crying.”
During his time in Xinjiang, Jiang said every new detainee was beaten during the interrogation process — including men, women and children as young as 14. “Everyone uses different methods. Some even use a wrecking bar, or iron chains with locks.”
The methods included shackling people to a metal or wooden “tiger chair” — chairs designed to immobilize suspects — hanging people from the ceiling, sexual violence, electrocutions, and waterboarding. Inmates were often forced to stay awake for days, and denied food and water, he said. “Everyone uses different methods. Some even use a wrecking bar, or iron chains with locks,” Jiang said. “Police would step on the suspect’s face and tell him to confess.”
Other means of torture included forcing other inmates to rape men and electric shocks on privates, that I won’t quote because of its brutality.
CNN reports that the whistleblower’s description match the statements of victims:
CNN cannot independently confirm Jiang’s claims, but multiple details of his recollections echo the experiences of two Uyghur victims CNN interviewed for this report. More than 50 former inmates of the camp system also provided testimony to Amnesty International for a 160-page report released in June, “‘Like We Were Enemies in a War’: China’s Mass Internment, Torture, and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang.”
The story includes the victims’ statements, who are identified:
“They put me in a tiger chair,” Bekali said. “They hung us up and beat us on the thigh, on the hips with wooden torches, with iron whips.” He said police tried to force him to confess to supporting terrorism, and he spent the following eight months in a series of internment camps. “When they put the chains on my legs the first time, I understood immediately I am coming to hell,” Bekali said. He said heavy chains were attached to prisoners’ hands and feet, forcing them to stay bent over, even when they were sleeping.
He said he lost around half his body weight during his time there, saying he “looked like a skeleton” when he emerged. “I survived from this psychological torture because I am a religious person,” Bekali said. “I would never have survived this without my faith. My faith for life, my passion for freedom kept me alive.”
His faith is precisely why the regime launched the pogrom. Nothing can come before loyalty to the State!
The genocide and human-rights atrocities against Uyghurs are systemic and ongoing. Of that, there can be no doubt. For example, BBC reported a similar story earlier this year. The question now is what will the world do about it.
Apparently, not much. John Kerry shamefully sniffed that fighting climate change has to be the priority.
Meanwhile, big business continues to profit mightily from doing business with China — which means winking at slave labor. And the U.S. has failed to begin the urgent process of uncoupling from China as a vital part of our supply chain for necessities such as medical equipment and computer components.
Good grief, we won’t even boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics! Can’t have our entertainment chain interrupted, don’t you know.
We are quickly reaching the point where maintaining the status quo becomes moral complicity.