A 31-year-old Uighur man appears in a newly published video that offers a rare view inside the Chinese Communist Party’s secretive “reeducation” camps.
The Uighurs, a Muslim minority, allegedly have been singled out for mass detention, forced labor and torture in China’s Xinjiang Province. As many as 1 million are estimated to have “disappeared” into camps.
The video shows Merdan Ghappar, a former model, handcuffed to a cot in a narrow, cell-like room with caged windows and a small bed. He’s wearing dark sweats and slippers, and the floor and walls appear dirty. It was published by the BBC on Tuesday.
Over a loudspeaker, messages are played in Chinese. They are reportedly about politics and history of Xinjiang.
The province also is known as East Turkistan, although the loudspeaker explicitly blares the opposite, according to the BBC’s translation.
Ghappar’s family forwarded the video and text messages to the outlet to raise awareness of the plight of their people. The texts allegedly contradict China’s claim that it has closed most of its reeducation camps.
The family told the BBC that Ghappar has not been heard from since his last message arrived five months ago.
His uncle, Abdulhakim Ghappar, likened the oppression of the Uighurs to the death of George Floyd. The Uighurs are a mostly Muslim Turkic ethnic group.
“They have both faced brutality for their race,” he told the BBC. “But while in America, people are raising their voices, in our case, there is silence.”
Beijing has said it takes necessary national security measures against Islamic extremism in its approach to the Uighurs.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week announced sanctions against a Chinese company and two officials over the Communist Party’s alleged mistreatment of the Uighurs, which he called the “stain of the century.”
“We call on the world to join us in condemning the CCP’s heinous abuse of the human rights of its own citizens,” he said.
Human rights activists are demanding an investigation into the Uighurs’ treatment – which allegedly involves forcibly harvesting their organs and forcing women to take birth control medication. China has denied the use of unethical organ transplants and said it stopped harvesting organs from prisoners who received the death penalty in 2015.
Leaked classified documents appear to show the government’s plans to lock up and brainwash the country’s ethnic minorities.
Fox News’ Hollie McKay and Caitlin McFall and the Associated Press contributed to this report.