Woman survivor in Xinjiang: Our souls are dead

Ms. Gulbahar Haitiwaji (youtube screenshot).

The Uyghur woman has lived in France for 10 years. In 2016, she returned to Xinjiang to sign some documents and was later arrested by the police. Over the next two years, she was systematically dehumanized, humiliated, and brainwashed …

After successfully leaving the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) re-education camp and returning to France, this woman shared with the media the physical and mental damage caused by the torture as well. Intense military training and brainwashing sessions in the re-education camp. Here is the true story of Ms. Gulbahar Haitiwaji captured by her own account. The article was published on The Guardian.

The work unit coordinated with the CCP police to arrest people

Gulbahar Haitiwaji is a Uyghur woman who has worked at the Xinjiang Weiklamay Petrochemical Company for over 20 years. After that, she moved to France for 10 years.

One day in November 2016, she unexpectedly received a call from a self-proclaimed accountant of the company in mainland China to France. “You have to go back to Karamay to sign the documents regarding your next retirement,” he said. Karamay is a city in western China’s Xinjiang Province where she worked for an oil and gas company for over 20 years.

Mrs. Haitianwaji then replied, in this case, that she wanted to allow a friend in Karamay. She asked the man on the phone: Why do I have to take care of the papers myself? Why such a small thing, why is it so laborious? Why?.

The accountant did not answer Ms. Haitiwaji’s question. He just said that after 2 days it will come back to him after considering the possibility of authorization.

His daughter is a terrorist!

Hanging up the phone, a series of questions popped up in Haitiwaji’s mind: “Why did this man want me to go back to Karamay?” Is this the police’s strategy for questioning me? This never happened to any Uyghur she knew in France.

Two days later, the man contacted again and said the clearance was unsuccessful, that she had to return. Ms. Haitiwaji agreed and promised to return to Xinjiang as soon as possible. “When I hung up, a shiver went through my back. I’m afraid to go back to Xinjiang… I have a bad omen, ”she said.

Ms. Haitianwaji did not want to return to Xinjiang, but her husband Kerim convinced his wife that there was nothing to worry about, that it only took a few weeks to return to Xinjiang and that it was normal to ‘to be questioned by the police. . was convinced by her husband and decided to come back.

At that time, her husband and daughter both naturalized French and renounced Chinese citizenship. However, Haitianwaji still holds her Chinese passport as she wants to return to Xinjiang to visit her parents and brothers. She therefore applied for a residence permit which required an extension every 10 years in France.

A few days after returning to China, on the morning of November 30, 2016, Ms. Haitianwaji went to the Petrochemical Company office in Karamay to sign documents about her retirement, and then went to the police station upon request. The police there asked why she had come to France and what work was she doing in France …

A policeman suddenly showed a photo, then used his hand to smash the table: “You know that kid, don’t you?”

It was a photo of Gulhumar, Haitianwaji’s daughter. She is holding an East Turkestan flag, a flag banned by the Chinese government. For the Uyghurs, this flag symbolized the regional independence movement. Her daughter’s participation was one of the events organized by the French branch of the Uyghur World Congress. This event represented Uyghurs in exile and denounced the CCP’s persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

“Yes, she’s my daughter,” Ms. Haitiwaji replied.

The police shouted: “Your daughter is a terrorist!”

Ms. Haitiwaji repeated over and over: “I don’t know, I don’t know what she was doing there, she didn’t do anything wrong. I swear. My daughter is not a terrorist! My husband too! “.

She doesn’t remember the whole interview. She only remembers the photo, his aggressive police questions and his desperate answers. At the end of the interview, she asked, “Can I go now? Are we done? And they said, “No, Ms. Gulbahar Haitiwaji, we haven’t finished yet.”

Then she was transferred to “physical education”.

Long-term military training; tired, helpless

In Karamay Detention Center, Ms. Haitiwaji and the other Uyghur women arrested for the first time received intense long-term “military training” 11 hours a day. They are often ordered to parade through the room, then to stand still for half an hour, maybe an hour, or even more, causing a stab in the leg, unbearable pain …

If anyone passed out, a guard would pull her up and slap her. If she fell again, the guard would drag her out of the room, “We’ll never see her again.” At first it shocked me, but then it became a normal thing. You can get used to anything, even horror things, ”Ms. Haitianwaji said.

After nearly five months of interrogation accompanied by arbitrary abuse in the Karamay police cell, Ms. Haitiwaji learned that she should “study”. Ms. Haitiwaji said she was punished once by handcuffing the bed for 20 days, but she did not know why she was being punished.

He was told that the government had built these schools to “correct” the Uyghurs. The women sharing her cell said it would be like going to a normal school with Han Chinese teachers. After the passage, the students can go home.

Then comes the process of “going to school” at the re-education camp …
On the first day, Haitianwaji met a woman named Nadira. This woman took her to visit the dormitory. This dorm has no mattresses, no furniture, no toilet paper… just the two of us women behind the iron doors.

It’s not a school, she understands. It is a re-education camp with military rules. In the re-education camp, the whistles will tell the “practitioner” when to get up, go to bed, and eat. Not allowed to chat. Over time, fatigue reached its limit every day, the two women no longer wanted to talk, they became less and less talkative.

The guards stared at them, with no way to escape this kind of surveillance. They dare not whisper, even wipe their mouths or yawn, because they are afraid of being accused of praying. Whether you want to eat or not, you must eat for fear of being labeled an “Islamic terrorist”. It is against the rules to refuse food in the re-education camp …

Ms. Haitiwaji said, “At night I was exhausted and in a coma in bed. I’m too tired, too tired, too tired to think … “

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