A group of Muslim Uyghur refugees in Turkey have spoken out about the horrors they faced on their journey to escape China’s internment camps.
In an interview with Turkish social media platform GZT, the group revealed the extent of the persecution faced by Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region, where they have to endure torture and barbaric practices at the hands of the Chinese authorities.
In a shocking testimony, Rukiye, one of the survivors, said her two older brothers and five friends were gunned down by a firing squad right in front of her eyes.
Father of two Abdulrahman Emin said he received news in 2017 that his two children were shot by the police while playing on the street.
“I heard one of them is dead and the other is at the hospital. But I don’t know who’s who,” said Emin of his horrifying ordeal.
Many refer to China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region -- home to many ethnic minorities, including the Turkic Uyghur people -- as East Turkestan.
They believe Uyghurs are among a number of Turkic tribes that inhabit the region, and consider it to be a part of Central Asia, not China.
Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group that make up 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, accuse China of carrying out repressive policies that restrain their religious, commercial and cultural activities.
Established under the pretext of “political reeducation” for China’s Muslim population, Beijing has amped up its construction of detention camps in the past three months, expanding them by an additional 700,000 square meters, according to satellite imagery.
China’s Muslim incarceration camps have attracted heavy criticism from the international community as Beijing continually denied their existence and repeatedly rejected allegations of abuses against the country’s Uyghur minority for years, opting to call them “vocational camps” instead.
Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uyghurs. The Turkic Muslim group which makes up around 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, has long accused China’s authorities for cultural, religious and economic discrimination.