Kazakh woman involved in Xinjiang rape claim flees to US

Gulzira Auelkhan says she was forced to strip Uighur women and leave them with Chinese men

Gulzira Auelkhan (left) meets with Bob Fu in U.S. (Bob Fu photo)

Gulzira Auelkhan (left) meets with Bob Fu in U.S. (Bob Fu photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A 41-year-old Kazakh woman who survived months of torment at a re-education camp in China's Xinjiang has arrived in the United States with the assistance of ChinaAid, a Texas-based Christian nonprofit devoted to raising awareness of human rights abuses.

Bob Fu (傅希秋), founder of ChinaAid, told Taiwan News on Wednesday (Feb. 10) the organization has helped former camp detainee, Gulzira Auelkhan from Kazakhstan, flee to the U.S. She and her family have been granted humanitarian parole status.

Auelkhan’s 16-month detention in the Xinjiang camp, between July in 2017 and October in 2018, has left her in poor health. According to Fu, she has shown symptoms associated with concussion, cerebral hemorrhage, pancreatitis, as well as renal and uterine issues.

Auelkhan’s ordeal began in 2017, when she traveled to Xinjiang to visit her hometown and was arrested arbitrarily, said ChinaAid. She was sentenced to 15 days for “harboring improper thoughts,” which was later extended to one year after a forged confession.

The Kazakh woman said she experienced physical and emotional torture and witnessed systematic rape and prostitution during her detention. According to Auelkhan, the authorities offered her a sum of 250,000 yuan (US$38,729) if she agreed to remain silent on what she saw in the camps, which she rejected.

Auelkhan was featured in a Feb. 2 report carried by the BBC about alleged systematic rape and abuses in Beijing's supposed re-education camps. The camps, the Chinese claim, are designed to provide professional training to Uighurs and people of other minority groups.

According to her account, Auelkhan was forced to take off Uighur women’s clothes and handcuff them, before leaving them to Chinese men, some of them policemen. She attested to organized rape in the facilities, saying she could not say no for fear of being punished.

In agonizing details, BBC provided a peek into some of the darkest sides of the camp networks, through interviews with former detainees, teachers, and guards. The accusations include indoctrination, food deprivation, rape, sexual abuse, physical torture such as electrocution, and “spirit destroying” abuse.

Beijing has vehemently denied the accusations, slamming them as groundless and intended as a smear campaign against the Chinese government.

Updated : 2021-03-05 20:58 GMT+08:00