Uyghur refugee Gulbahar Haitiwaji recalls her tormenting days in Chinese camps

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An Uyghur woman who was induced back to Beijing from France just to be detained recounted her distressing experience in the ‘re-education’ camps back in 2016. In her book, Gulbahar Haitiwaji recalled the ‘interrogations, torture, hunger, brainwashing, and forced sterilizations she experienced or witnessed’ in the camps. Haitiwaji was acquitted during a brief trial in August 2019 and allowed to leave for home.

The Uyghur refugee was tortured for three years

Haitiwaji, who is a Turkish-speaking, Muslim, Uyghur minority, lived through the torment of Chinese re-education camps for three years.

“In the camps, life and death do not mean the same thing as they do elsewhere. A hundred times over I thought, when the footfalls of guards woke us in the night, that our time had come to be executed. When a hand viciously pushed clippers across my skull, and other hands snatched away the tufts of hair that fell on my shoulders, I shut my eyes, blurred with tears, thinking my end was near,” Haitiwaji said in her book.


The name of her book is “Rescapee du Goulag Chinois” (“Survivor of the Chinese Gulag”), co-authored by Le Figaro journalist Rozenn Morgat and published in French on January 13 by Editions des Equateurs.

While recalling her detention days, she narrated,  “The guard came in one morning and chained me to the bars of the bed, without a word. That was two weeks ago. Since then, I have been living sitting against the side of the metal bed, my bottom in the dust. I can pull myself up onto the mattress for the night.”

“Physically taxed to the limit, we no longer felt like talking. Our days were punctuated by the screech of the guards’ whistles, on waking, at mealtime, at bedtime,” she added.

On January 14,  a commission of the United States published a news report which said that China possibly carried “genocide” along with other “crimes against humanity” on Uyghurs, the Muslim minority group in the remote western region of Xinjiang. The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) said in the report that the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government and Chinese Communist Party have taken unprecedented measures in order to expand its repressive policies including censorship, intimidation, and the detention of people in China for exercising the basic human rights.

(With ANI Inputs)