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US condemns systematic rape of Uighur women in China’s Xinjiang camp

A former guard said he had witnessed guards beating prisoners

uighurs-china-reuters Uighur women stand next to a street to wait for a bus in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang | Reuters

The US government has demanded serious consequences and said it finds reports of systematic rape and sexual torture of Uighur women in detained in China’s Xinjiang camps. BBC, after talking to several women, published horrifying accounts of rape and torture in the detention camps where Uighur and other Muslim minorities are being held. Advocacy groups have renewed calls for the international community to take action.

Women have said that they have been subject to rape at hands of the guards. A former guard told BBC that he had witnessed guards beating prisoners and subjecting them to electric shocks.

“We are deeply disturbed by reports, including first-hand testimony, of systematic rape and sexual abuse against women in internment camps for ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang,” a state department spokesperson told Reuters. “These atrocities shock the conscience and must be met with serious consequences,” the official added.

The revelations have drawn a horrified response from several Australian MPs.

Australia’s foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, said international observers, including the UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, “to be given immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang at the earliest opportunity.”

Over the months, China has denied its detainment and torture of Uighur Muslims and called the detention centres camps meant for vocational training. The US has imposed sanctions on China for the prosecution of its religious minority and in January called the community’s repression ‘genocide’.

In June 2020, there were reports of forced sterilisations among women in the camp to suppress the population. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, on Wednesday, said the BBC report was false and “wholly without factual basis”. Wenbin also told The Guardian the ‘victims’ are “actors disseminating false information”, and said China had released multiple reports showing “people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang live in peace and contentment, unity and harmony, and that all their legal rights are effectively guaranteed.”

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