|A prisoner is tortured in a “political
training center.” (Photo: ChinaAid)
(Altay, Xinjiang—April 5, 2018) 20 Kazakh citizens in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have suffered mental breakdowns after being incarcerated at “political training centers,” ChinaAid recently learned.
The 20 prisoners, who consisted of civil servants, doctors, and other professionals who participated in political activities, were deprived sleep and bathroom usage and forced to wear helmets that produced noises for 21 hours each day, only allowing them three hours of asleep. They were forced sing nationalistic songs and recite Chinese. The constant torture caused them to cry and scream all day.
Fearing that the news would incite hatred of the government, officials transferred the prisoners into a psychiatric institute in Beitun District rather than to a local hospital. For three months now, these prisoners have been held there, and their relatives recently received a notice demanding that they pay 18,000 yuan ($2,855.00 USD) for the treatment.
According to a local Kazakh with information on the case, they were detained for participating in “extreme religions,” which is a common label given to peaceful Muslims. Many of Xinjiang’s Muslims are of Uyghur and Kazakh descent, and the Chinese government often targets these people groups. Currently, officials are arresting members of these communities for trivial charges and sending them to “political training centers,” which is the official term for detention camps.
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by the 20 prisoners who suffered mental breakdowns, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.