Ashbourne students raising awareness of prison camps in China

Dear sir- The Uyghur Muslim Prison Camps in China is a modern example of genocide that is actively happening today and has been happening for the last three years that these camps have been operational. There’s almost 400 of these camps. It isn’t getting the exposure by media outlets and politicians that it needs. In the past three years, there’s been over an 80% decrease in Uyghur population because of this.

The Uyghur Muslims are a Turkish- speaking minority ethnic group that are culturally associated with the general region of central and east Asia. Uyghurs are one of China’s 55 minorities, and there are over twelve million Uyghur Muslims in China. The Uyghurs are being targeted by the Chinese government due to a long history of conflict and several terrorist attacks by Uyghur Extremist groups.

On 22 April 2018, a satellite going over China’s deserts showed a highly secured area had been built. There were 16 guard towers surrounding this area. Reports began to emerge about the abuse of the Uyghurs in this area, the Chinese government were confronted. They denied all claims and said that everyone in these camps went willingly. Investigations and reports from inmates there have shown otherwise. Reporters and journalists aren’t allowed to approach or record anywhere near these camps.

In the Xinjiang Region in China an estimated 1,000,000+ Uyghurs have been stripped of their basic human rights and taken to prison camps against their will for no apparent reason or crime. These camps are branded as ‘Re-Education Centres.’ In these camps, Uyghurs are forced to partake in activities that go against their religion. Upon being brought to these camps, their passports are confiscated, forcibly keeping them there.

The Muslims that are held in these camps are treated inhumanely. Leaked documents from the Chinese government, labelled ‘the China cables’ written by Zhu Hailun, the deputy secretary of Xinjiang Communist Party, were sent to the leaders of the camps. It contained instructions on how to run the camps as high security prison camps, with strict disciplines, harsh punishments and no one is to stay in the camps for less than a year. The document reveals that every detail of a detainee’s life is monitored and controlled- they have a fixed bed position, fixed classroom seats, fixed queue positions- none of these things can be changed. Cameras outside of the camps also monitor and report on anyone who is near. If someone was lucky enough to leave these camps, they had to sign an agreement and film a video saying they were not tortured in these camps.

Cruel torture methods and brainwashing techniques are used on the Uyghurs in these camps. Uyghurs are forced to undergo psychological indoctrinations programmes in addition to physical torture, like waterboarding and sexual abuse. Upon entry, families are separated and not allowed to see each other, no matter the circumstance. Up to 70 women would stay in a room, and their hands and feet are tied to the beds as they slept. Due to the little space, these women had to take turns sleeping, which left them sleep deprived. These women also get sterilised, possibly to stop them from growing the Uyghur population. Little food is provided and there have been reports from escapees that people had to chant Chinese propaganda songs for a decent meal that was often pork and alcohol which is against their religion. This torture is disgusting and ruthless and needs to be addressed and ended.

We are Adam Muldoon, Ava Carroll, Roisin Moss and Isaac Moore and we are Transition Year students in Ashbourne Community School. We feel very strongly about this topic and we are hoping to spread more awareness. We want this issue to get the awareness it needs; this is a human rights catastrophe. We really appreciate you taking your time to read this.


Adam, Ava, Roison and Isaac,

Ashbourne Community School.