'We will turn the best of them into Hans, while repressing and destroying the bad.'
5-9-19 Almaty, Kazakhstan (CNN)Overflowing toilets in overcrowded cells. Food and sleep deprivation. Forced injections....Responding to Sauytbay's claims, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said she had "twisted facts" about the camps, alleging Sauytbay was still in financial debt in China.
Former Xinjiang camp teacher Sayragul Sauytbay who fled to Almaty, Kazakhstan, to escape the Chinese government.
Sauytbay was running a kindergarten when she said the authorities demanded she relocate to one of the camps. Teaching Chinese was ideal for her, they said, because she was fluent in both Kazakh and Chinese.
Upon her arrival she said she quickly discovered her job would require more than teaching. "They told me there is a policy of sinicization underway," she said, referring to the process of making the country's minorities more like the Han Chinese majority. "They once said 'We will turn the best of them into Hans, while repressing and destroying the bad.' This policy is underway now."
Sauytbay was told to instruct her classes that they should be loyal to the Communist Party as "Chinese" people. "They told me to tell them, 'The Communist Party has led you to this day. The fact that you are living is thanks to the Communist Party. You have made a mistake by failing to know the Chinese language. The lack of your knowledge of the Chinese language is a treachery of the state'," she said. This is consistent with the accounts of numerous ex-detainees, including Kairat Samarhan, a former detainee who told CNN he was forced to stand for hours on end, chanting "long live Xi Jinping" in a nod to China's President. https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/09/asia/xinjiang-china-kazakhstan-detention-intl/index.html
But Mihrigul Tursun's story of detention and torture -- which she also delivered in full to the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China in 2018 -- fits a growing pattern of evidence emerging about the systematic repression of religious and ethnic minority groups carried out by the Chinese government in Xinjiang. https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/18/asia/uyghur-china-detention-center-intl/index.html
In Kashgar, students walk toward a dormitory on the campus of a detention facility for Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
"These so-called study centers are prisons," Bilash told NPR last October in Almaty, Kazakhstan's biggest city. "They're hell. It's we in Kazakhstan who are disclosing what is happening in Xinjiang. We aren't afraid to speak up because Kazakhstan is more democratic than China."
Bilash may have spoken too soon. In March, just five months after NPR interviewed him, Kazakh authorities detained him on suspicion of "inciting ethnic hatred." Police conducted a raid on Atajurt's Almaty office. Bilash remains under house arrest. Kazakhstan's government is an ally of Beijing and has positioned itself as "the buckle" in China's trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, its global trade and investment campaign.https://www.npr.org/2019/05/07/720608802/reporters-notebook-uighurs-held-for-extremist-thoughts-they-didnt-know-they-had