“One time I heard a man screaming from morning until evening. This was psychological torture to me – I was afraid, would the next one be me?”
By Helen Davidson
The Guardian (8/5/20)
Rare footage and text messages secretly sent by a detained Uighur man show chilling evidence of human rights violations by China, as global scrutiny of the situation in Xinjiang grows.
According to reports by the BBC and the Globe and Mail, Merdan Ghappar, a successful model on the e-commerce platform Taobao, was detained after having spent over a year in prison on a drugs charge his supporters said was trumped up.
In January, the 31-year-old Uighur was taken back to Xinjiang by police where he was hooded, shackled and held in a crowded police cell with 50-60 prisoners.
Videos and text messages reportedly sent by Ghappar provide a detailed account of his detention and the shocking conditions he says he witnessed, including teenage boys being hooded and beaten, and of the widespread use of “four-piece suits” – combined restraints that are criticised by human rights groups.
Ghappar has not been heard from since March.
Other text messages revealed how children as young as 13 are targeted as part of China’s efforts to suppress the Muslim minority group’s religion and culture, with a document calling on children to “repent and surrender”.
“A third of the room was taken up by chairs for the duty cops. The rest was men on the right, women on the left, divided up and locked in cages,” Ghappar wrote of the police cell in his texts, which were translated by James Millward, a professor of history at Georgetown University in Washington DC.
“And from head to toe, they were all wearing four-piece suits. This so-called four-piece suit was a black cloth bag over the head; handcuffs; shackles; and a steel chain between the handcuffs and the shackles.” …