Former Teacher Claims Male Guards In China’s Detention Camps Rape And Torture Students
A teacher, who was forced to spend three months working at a Chinese government-run detention centre, says male guards would regularly sexually abuse and torture students.
The claims, made by Qelbinur Sidik relating to her time in Xinjiang, are alarmingly similar to those made by Uighur women, who have shared horrifying stories of systematic abuse within the camps.
Sidik, who is originally from Uzbekistan, spent 28 years teaching children aged six to 13 in Xinjiang before she was summoned to teach those who the Saybagh District Bureau of Education described as ‘illiterates’.
She began her post in March 207, and recalled her students – around 100 men and just a handful of women – coming into class with their ‘feet and hands chained in shackles’.
During her first lesson, Sidik turned to discover many of her students were crying.
‘I turned slightly, I saw their tears falling down their beards, the female detainees were crying loudly,’ she told CNN.
Sidik recalled seeing young, fit and healthy detainees arriving at the camp, only to witness their physical and mental health deteriorating over the course of time she spent teaching them.
On her first day, she saw a young Uighur woman who was not breathing being carried out of the building on a stretcher by two soldiers. She later discovered the woman had died from heavy bleeding, although no one ever explained what had happened to her.
Sidik befriended a female policewoman at the camp, who told her she had been assigned to investigate reports of rape at the centre.
‘When [male guards] were drinking at night, the policemen would tell each other how they raped and tortured girls,’ she said. ‘During the time I was teaching in there, I witnessed horrific tragedy.’
The United States government has accused China of committing genocide against Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups through mass detention in such camps, as well as rape, torture and forced abortions.
In response, the Chinese government has denied the claims, insisting the camps are ‘vocational training centres’ designed to create jobs and stamp out Islamic extremism.
One woman, who spent nine months in a government re-education camp, said some of the women were raped every night by one or more Chinese men, who would come in and take their pick of detainees. Tursunay Ziawudun says she was gang-raped on three separate occasions.
Tormented by her horrific experience, Zuawudun fled China after she was released in 2018, and has ben residing in the United States ever since.
Despite many women coming forward with similar experiences, Chinese officials have described the claims as ‘sheer nonsense’.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.
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