A witness at this week’s Uyghur Tribunal in London, identifying himself as a former Chinese law enforcement officer, testified that his colleagues regularly used torture devices and severely brutalized victims in the nation’s Uyghur concentration camps, the human rights magazine Bitter Winter reported on Thursday.
The tribunal concluded on Monday, featuring over 30 witnesses, both former officers and former inmates in the concentration camps, detailing their experiences under the Chinese Communist Party. China is believed to be running over 1,000 concentration camps in Xinjiang, its westernmost region and home to the majority of the nation’s Uyghur ethnic minority. In addition to Uyghurs, who are majority Sunni Muslim, individuals belonging to other Muslim ethnic minorities, primarily Kazakhs and Kyrgyz people, have also disappeared into the camps.
In 2019, the Pentagon estimated that as many as 3 million people were trapped in Chinese concentration camps. Since then, China has moved thousands of Uyghurs into factories throughout the country to engage in slave labor and moved some into Xinjiang’s cotton fields to pick cotton by force. China has also implemented a massive forced sterilization campaign to prevent the growth of the Uyghur ethnic group. Both the administrations of Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden have deemed the evidence regarding the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang to constitute the international crime of genocide.
The former police witness at the Uyghur tribunal used the pseudonym “Wang Keizhan” and said he worked in the camps in 2019. He has since fled the country for Germany, from which he testified. He stated he believed that he was among 150,000 rookie law enforcement officers Beijing flooded Xinjiang with to staff the prisons.
While there, he said, superiors encouraged the recruits to use as many types of egregious torture on those in the camps as possible. Among the types of torture described were a form of pseudo-drowning in which “their limbs were tied, and waterpipes were inserted in their mouth to force water into their lungs.” Some had their limbs hammered into pieces. The officer also confirmed the use of electric devices on men’s genitals to torture them, corresponding to testimonies from women trapped in the camps who have previously said that officers raped them with electric batons. Similar to the water torture, some victims had a plastic bag tied around their heads to suffocate them to near-death, he said. (Read more from “Defecting Officer: China Uses Genital Torture on Uyghurs, Breaks Limbs With Hammers” HERE)
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