Home Christian News Uyghur Women Tell of Systematic Rape, Torture in New Report

Uyghur Women Tell of Systematic Rape, Torture in New Report

Qelbinur Sedik was an educator who came into a camp periodically to teach the prisoners. After hearing rumors about rape, she asked a Chinese policewoman if the rumors were true. According to Sedik, the woman told her, “Yes, the rape has become a culture. It is gang rape and the Chinese police not only rape them but also electrocute them. They are subject to horrific torture.” Another educator who taught in the camps name Sayragul Sauytbay told the BBC that one time she saw Chinese police gang rape a young woman in front of 100 detainees. “It was absolutely horrendous,” she said.

Ziawudun said that in addition to the brutal sexual torture she and others were subjected to, they were also given injections and pills, deprived of food, and forced to learn about Chinese president Xi Jinping.

The guard who spoke to the BBC is the first former internment camp guard from the XUAR ever to speak on the record. He did so under condition of anonymity and from an undisclosed country outside of China. Even so, the BBC said that the risk he was taking was so significant that they had hired an actor to deliver his interview for the video version of the report. 

The guard said that eight to 16 Uyghur women were typically placed in each cell in the camps and that cameras watched them constantly. While there, they were forced to memorize books written in Chinese about Xi Jinping. “The punishment was severe,” he said, if they failed to do so. 

The guard was unaware of the occurrence of systematic rape, but he did confirm that electrocution, beatings, and food deprivation were used to torture detainees. He said, “I took detainees into those camps. I saw those sick, miserable people. They definitely experienced various types of torture. I am sure about that.”

Some Testimony of Uyghur Women ‘too disturbing to broadcast’

At the end of the video report for this story, the BBC’s Matthew Hill said, “Much of the testimony of the women, like Tursunay, I’ve spoken to is too disturbing to broadcast.” 

Hill and his fellow contributors, David Campanale and Joel Gunter, noted in their written report that the eyewitness accounts are difficult to verify due to China’s restrictions on allowing journalists into the country. However, Ziawudun’s story is corroborated by her travel documents and immigration records, her description of the camp when compared to satellite images, and other eyewitness accounts. The guard who spoke to them also provided documents that seem to confirm he was employed at a camp. 

Zenz told the BBC that this new testimony from the Uyghur women is “some of the most horrendous evidence I have seen since the atrocity began. This confirms the very worst of what we have heard before. It provides authoritative and detailed evidence of sexual abuse and torture at a level clearly greater than what we had assumed.”

The U.S. State Department has commented on the BBC’s report, calling China’s actions “crimes against humanity and genocide” and saying, “We are deeply disturbed by reports, including first-hand testimony, of systematic rape and sexual abuse against women in internment camps for ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang.” While a spokeswoman said that the Chinese government should face “consequences” for its actions, she did not specify what steps the U.S. would take to stop these atrocities. 

Christians and others who value religious freedom would do well to pay attention to the plight of the Uyghurs and other people of faith in China. More than one thought leader is convinced that China’s actions have repercussions for religious freedom in the rest of the world. Open Doors CEO David Curry has said he believes China is developing “a ‘persecution roadmap’ against religious faith,” and is therefore “the greatest threat…to human rights today.” 

U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Samuel D. Brownback, has called the persecution of the Uyghurs “the future of oppression.” Brownback participated in a webinar last August with ERLC president Dr. Russell Moore and Uyghur activists Rushan Abbas and Nury Turkel. The purpose of the webinar was to shed light on the crimes the CCP is committing against the Uyghur people and to offer action steps that individual believers and church leaders can take to combat this oppression. You can read about the webinar and those action steps here: “The ‘Future of Oppression’: A Sobering Look at China’s Treatment of the Uyghur People.

See the following articles for further reading on this topic:

Uyghur Doctor Shares First-Hand Account of Infanticide in China

Religious Advocates Implore CEOs Not to Be Complicit in Chinese ‘Holocaust’

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Jessica is a content editor for ChurchLeaders.com and the producer of The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past five years. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys West Coast Swing dancing, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.