- Editor: Ranting
“Now that my children are in the hands of the CCP government, I am not sure if I will ever meet them again in my lifetime.”
“I am one of the thousands of Uighurs whose families have been torn apart, and we have not heard from our daughters for the past 1,594 days.”
Such unbelievable tragedies of flesh and blood separation have occurred in many Uighur families. In a report released Friday (March 19), the human rights group Amnesty International said, “China(CCP)’s crackdown has led Uighur families into a nightmare of physical separation.”
Amnesty International interviewed a number of Uighur parents who were forcibly separated from their children and exiled overseas, and quoted their testimony in the report that these parents simply dare not dream of the day when their children return to them.
Mihriban Kader, from Kashgar, and her husband Ablikim Memtinin were repeatedly harassed by police and asked to turn in their passports, so the pair fled to Italy in 2016, the report said.
After the two fled, Mihriban’s parents helped care for their four children, but soon after, Mihriban’s mother was taken to a detention camp and her father was interrogated for several days and later hospitalized for months. Their children became unsupported and uncared for.
Mihriban told Amnesty International, “After my parents’ accident, other relatives were afraid to take care of my children for fear they too would be sent to detention camps.”
All four children are minors, with the youngest being 12 years old. The three younger children were placed in an orphanage by the authorities, and another was admitted to a boarding school.
In 2019, the Italian government agreed to travel to Italy for the children of Mihriban and Ablikim. In June 2020, the four children set out from Kashgar on a long road to find their relatives.
Amnesty International said that when they managed to get to the door of the Italian consulate in Shanghai with their passports, they were refused entry and told that only the Beijing embassy could issue visas for family reunification, but that people simply could not travel to Beijing, which by then was under a strict city closure. The four children were eventually taken by the police and sent to an orphanage and boarding school in Xinjiang.
In another case, Omer Faruh and his wife, Meryem Faruh, left their two young children at home in Korla, Xinjiang, under the care of Meryem’s parents due to a number of circumstances.
After they lost contact with the two elderly men, they learned from a close friend that they had been taken to an internment camp, and they have not heard a word about the two children since.
Omer told Amnesty International, “I am one of the thousands of Uighurs whose families have been torn apart …… We have not heard from our daughters for the past 1,594 days. My wife and I try to hide our grief from the other children who are here with us, so we only cry at night.”
Alkan Akad, Amnesty International’s China researcher, said, “China’s relentless campaign of mass detentions in Xinjiang has left countless families torn apart facing a dilemma: children cannot leave China, but parents face persecution and arbitrary detention if they try to return to care for them.”
He added that the parents’ heartbreaking testimony “only scratches the surface of the suffering of the separated Uighur families. The China government must end its ruthless policies in Xinjiang and ensure that these families can be reunited as soon as possible and no longer fear being sent to detention camps.”
The report recommends that the CCP government end all measures that restrict the rights of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities to travel freely to and from China, close the so-called “re-education camps” and release detainees immediately and unconditionally, and ensure that all people in Xinjiang have regular access to family and friends, among other things.
The report also recommended that the second government ensure that all Uighurs have “access to fair and effective asylum procedures,” that it do its best to ensure that all Uighurs and other Chinese minority persons receive consular and other appropriate assistance, and that it do so in a “positive and humane manner” family reunification entry applications.
After the violent July 5 Uyghur-Chinese clashes in Urumqi in 2009 and the 2013 drive-by of Uyghur Muslims into Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Beijing has tightened its control and surveillance of the Xinjiang population. Since Chen Quanguo took charge of Xinjiang in August 2016 and promulgated “de-extremism” regulations in early 2017, authorities have significantly intensified the scale and extent of their crackdown on Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
Some international human rights organizations say at least one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are being held in internment camps in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. They were allegedly subjected to human rights violations such as torture, forced labor, forced sterilization, forced abortion, rape and sexual abuse, and political indoctrination in the camp.
CCP has consistently denied the mistreatment of Uighurs and the existence of detention camps. CCP describes the detention camps as vocational and technical education centers designed to de-radicalize and help lift regional populations out of poverty. The CCP side also said that there has never been any so-called “genocide,” “forced labor” or “religious oppression” in the Xinjiang region.