Muslim women reportedly ‘sterilized’ in Chinese ‘re-education’ camps

Muslim women reportedly ‘sterilized’ in Chinese ‘re-education’ camps


China is forcibly sterilizing women held in its vast network of “re-education” camps that house political and religious prisoners, survivors have claimed.

One woman, who was held for more than a year, has told French television she was repeatedly injected with a substance by doctors in a prison in the far-west region of Xinjiang.

“We had to stick our arms out through a small opening in the door,” Gulbahar Jalilova, a 54-year-old former detainee, told France 24.

“We soon realized that after our injections that we didn’t get our periods anymore.”

She and up to 50 other women were crammed into a tiny cell “like we were just (a) piece of meat,” she said.

Speaking to an Amnesty International conference recently, another woman, Mehrigul Tursun, 30, told a similar story of being unknowingly sterilized.

She felt “tired for about a week, lost my memories and felt depressed” after being administered a cocktail of drugs while imprisoned in 2017, she said.

After several months, she was released, having been diagnosed as mentally ill, and now lives in the United States. Doctors there later told her she had been sterilized.

A facility believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, in Artux, north of Kashgar in China's western Xinjiang region.
A facility believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, in Artux, north of Kashgar in China’s western Xinjiang regionGetty Images

Both women are Uighur Muslims, an ethnic minority group that has been specifically targeted by Chinese authorities for “re-education.”

An estimated 1 million Uighurs are held in prison camps across the country. Members of the Falun Gong religious movement have also been detained in large numbers.

In the past, Uighur women who were detained in camps and now live in Western nations have told of being forced to abort babies — including late in their pregnancies.

The Population Research Institute, which advocates for a ban on intrusive and inhumane population control programs, accused China of forced sterilization on a large scale.

“The current Uighur population is less than 1 percent of China’s total population,” the group said. “To restrict and control the natural growth of a population of this size in any country is to totally annihilate and genocide them.

“Therefore, the Chinese birth control policy of forced abortion and sterilization of Uighur is not a policy of ensuring the overall quality of Uighur population.

“On the contrary, it is to gradually exterminate them by imposing all the political, economic, and social means and restrictions.”

China said those arrested — who have faced no charges or convictions — pose a risk of future extremism.

But the country’s large-scale program has attracted international condemnation, accusations of brutality and torture, and a staggering finding from a recent international tribunal of a sinister organ-harvesting black market.

For several years, human rights groups have expressed concern that many of the estimated 1.5 million political and religious prisoners held in camps were part of an insidious human farming system.

In June, the specially formed China Tribunal in London declared there was no doubt that state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting was occurring on a massive scale.

Made up of members from the United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia and Iran, including experts in human rights, transplant surgery and international relations, the independent tribunal heard from 50 witnesses and examined an enormous volume of visual and text evidence over the past year.

The number of operations performed, the incredibly short waiting lists for recipients and the expansion of facilities demonstrated “beyond a reasonable doubt” that “forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale,” the report said.

China has consistently denied it is involved in human rights abuses.

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