Muslims Tortured in Chinese Labor Camps Recount Abuses, Find Haven in U.S.

Gulzira Auelkhan describes being forced to take pills during her internment by the Chinese authorities.ABC News photo.

Gulzira Auelkhan and her family are ethnic Kazakh and she is originally from Xinjiang, China. She moved to Kazakhstan in 2014, then went back to China to visit her hometown in 2017, but instead she says she was stopped by Chinese authorities and imprisoned.

“Because you went to Kazakhstan, you were imprisoned because you have a problem with your ideology,” she says Chinese authorities told her. She said she spent the next 15 months inside one of these “vocational” centers.

An ABC News report states that up to 3 million Turkic Muslims are, or have been, detained in facilities like these, according to the U.S. State Department and human rights activists. The Chinese government does not deny the existence of these facilities, but instead says they are part of “anti-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts in Xinjiang in accordance with the law to protect people’s lives.”

Turkic Muslims make up the majority of Xinjiang — 7% are Kazakh, like Gulzira Auelkhan, and another 46% are Uighur. After a rise in violence throughout the region over the last 20 years, Beijing blamed a radicalized group of Uighurs for a series of attacks, which experts say gave China an excuse to target its Turkic Muslim population.

Gulzira Auelkhan described her alleged experience in the camp to ABC News’ Bob Woodruff. Her interview and more will air Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on ABC News Live Prime with Linsey Davis.

In both the TV interview and an online article for ABC News, Gulzira Auelkhan describes being forced to take pills during her internment by the Chinese authorities.

“They made us [women] take pills,” Gulzira Auelkhan told ABC News. “The guards would stick their fingers in your mouth to make sure you swallowed the pills.”

Gulzira Auelkhan believes these pills were part of a forced sterilization strategy, adding, “It was forbidden to be pregnant.”

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SOURCE: Assist News Service, Michael Ireland