Aziz Isa Elkun who campaigns for Uyghur rights
The Chinese state calls this policy of mass incarceration “transformation through education” but to Mr Elkun, China has been implementing a “genocide in slow motion”. The Secretary of the Uyghur tells of a day to day schedule of systematic humiliation within the camps, saying: “Every morning detainees are forced to give oaths of love to president Xi Jinping. They must sing songs praising the Chinese Communist Party and are told to pray to president Xi Jinping and previous communist Party leaders.”
Photographs have been smuggled out of Xinjiang province revealing Mosques with portraits of Xi Jinping commanding most of the usually image free wall space.
Mr Elkun sheds his anguish at not hearing from any family member from his homeland since the crackdown began in earnest in 2017.
He said: “Where is my mother, the Chinese government has cut off all communications, I have no idea of her fate”.
He added: “My friend’s cousin was held in a camp for a year and a half.
“He died quickly after release and we suspect he was forced to take an unknown medicine, some kind of bio-chemical.
“In many camps, people are forced to take unknown medicines, if they don’t they will be denied food for several days or other punishments.”
Mr Elkun goes on to explain more physical effects that detainees are experiencing.
He said: “Some of the women have stopped having their period, some have gone blind.”
He describes a singularly horrifying event that occurred at the camps last year, saying, “All public transport was stopped for one month, many male detainees between the ages of 20 and 50 were secretly transferred to somewhere in central China.
He added: “We assume they either couldn’t change them into Han Chinese in the camp, or they were brought elsewhere for organ harvesting.”
READ MORE: China sends 100 Christians to ‘re-education’ camps
Demonstrators holds a banner reading “End Uyghur Re-Education” during a protest
It has been alleged that China is not just using the camps as a testing ground for medical research, but also as an opportunity to model mass surveillance technologies, such as AI powered facial recognition technology, ushering in a new era of automated racism
According to the New York Times, documents and interviews show that the authorities are also using a vast, secret system of advanced facial recognition technology to track and control the Uighurs.
It is the first known example of a government intentionally using artificial intelligence for racial profiling, experts have claimed.
Mr Elkun has described the use of surveillance technology to maintain a watchful eye over the detainees who are held in cramped cells.
He explains the testimony of a 29-year-old Uyghur woman called Mihrigul Tursun, who was incarcerated in a camp and tortured via electrocution to the point where her “whole body would shake violently and I could feel the pain in my veins.”
Mr Elkun said: “Mihrigul Tursun said that in her cell there were about thirty women together, they cannot cry, they cannot help each other, because it will be noticed by the monitoring cameras.
“Even when they go to the toilet or the shower there is a camera.
“If the camera detects misconduct, the detainee is deprived of food or sleep.”
Mr Elkun went on to explain that in Mihrigul’s cell, in three months, nine of the thirty women that were held there had died.
A demonstrator holds a banner reading “End Uyghur Re-Education”
The defender of Uyghur rights then discussed the tragic fate of the children orphaned after their parents were detained.
He said: “There are now an estimated more than half a million Uyghur orphaned children taken away taken away by the authorities and forced to speak only Han Chinese, dress, eat and live like them and worship President Xi Jinping and believing in the Chinese Communist Party as a God.
He added: The raison d’etre of the Chinese state is to erase the Uyghur people and secure Xinjiang province which is bigger than western Europe and contains 40 percent of China’s natural resources and 60 percent of its cotton production.”
Eleven million Uyghur people live in Xin Jiang, alongside 15 million Han Chinese colonists, of which five million are recruited into the paramilitary group, Xinjiang Agricultural and Construction Corps, whose members are armed and tasked with keeping order.
The Han colonists gain government grants, housing benefits and higher salaries in return for their loyalty to Beijing.
Mr Elkun feels the British Government’s approach in dealing with the Uyghur humanitarian crisis is not enough.
He said: “We are talking about millions of innocent people in concentration camps, this is a humanitarian crisis and goes against any international norm, it also contradicts China’s own constitution.
“The plight of the Uyghur should be included in British policy making with China.”
Kyrgyzstan men who fear relatives are being held in notorious “re-education camps”
But, Beijing has rejected accusations of operating “concentration camps” in its Xinjiang region, with a government spokesman telling Washington at the beginning of May to “stop interfering in Chinese domestic affairs.”
US Assistant Secretary of Defence Randall Schriver first made the remarks during a press briefing in early May, saying as many as three million Muslim-majority Uyghur people may be held inside the massive Chinese government camps.
Schriver said: “The Communist Party is using the security forces for mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps.”
However, Beijing has repeatedly denied the Uyghur citizens are being held in such large numbers and against their will, calling the camps instead “vocational education training centres.”
Speaking at his daily press briefing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said claims of concentration camps in Xinjiang were “simply not true” and claimed the mass camps were set up to “combat terrorism.”
He said: ”We urge the relevant US individual to respect the fact, abandon bias, exercise prudence in words and deeds, stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs and earnestly contribute to mutual trust and cooperation between us.”
Beijing has been under increasing pressure in the past six months to shut down its mass camps in Xinjiang.
Even Chinese diplomatic partner Turkey labeled the camps a “great shame for humanity” in February.