Muslim women in Chinese prison camps are being subjected to systematic rape, sterilisation and forced abortions, survivors have claimed.
Escapees who have taken refugee abroad are now sharing their stories of life inside the Xinjiang detention centres, in which the UN says more than 1,000,000 ethnic Uighurs are being held.
China describes the camps as ‘training centres’ to help deter extremists, but former prisoners say they are being used to curb the country’s Muslim population.
Student Ruqiye Perhat spent four years in prison after the 2009 Urumqi riots triggered her arrest in Xinjiang.
She states that any woman or man under the age of 35 was ‘raped and sexually abused’ inside the camp.
Ms Perhat, now 30, told the Washington Post that she was repeatedly raped by Han Chinese guards, resulting in two pregnancies which were both aborted while she was in prison.
Other former prisoners described how younger women would be taken from their packed cells by guards in the night.
Gulzira Auelkhan, 40, said the men would put ‘bags on the heads of the ones they wanted’ during the 18 months she spent in the camp.
Kazakh and Chinese citizen Gulzira Mogdyn, 38, was imprisoned after WhatsApp was found on her phone in December 2017.
At the time, she was 10 weeks pregnant, but Ms Mogdyn says officials told her she was not allowed to have the child, and removed it from her body without anaesthetic the next day.
Other accounts cite women being forced to smear ground chilli peppers onto their genitals before showering, or being implanted with intrauterine devices against their will.
Human rights advocate Aiman Umarova said: ‘Sexually violating women, including stopping them from reproducing, has become a weapon for China against its Muslim population.’
China is also accused of keeping thousands of Uighur children away from their Muslim parents and attempting to ‘indoctrinate’ them in camps posing as schools or orphanages.
Earlier this month shocking drone footage showed large groups of detainees being led into Chinese prison camps wearing blindfolds, with their hands bound and their heads shaven.
The alleged prisoners, thought to be ethnic minority Uighurs, each wear vests with the words ‘Kashgar Detention Center’ on their back.
China has come out in defence of the video, stating that it showed officials carrying out ‘normal’ tasks.
Muslims make up roughly two per cent of China’s 1,400,000,000 population.
Last year the UN stated that they had credible evidence around 1,000,000 Muslims have been locked away in concentration camps.
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