‘At Some Point You Will Forget Who You Are’: Xinjiang Concentration Camp Survivor

Tiffany Meier
By Tiffany Meier
August 20, 2022China in Focus

In this special episode, we sat down with Tursunay Ziyawudun, a Xinjiang concentration camp survivor. She recounts her experience inside the camp, how she got out, and what her decision to speak out is costing her family. Translating for her is Mr. Weli.

Ziyawudun said: “At the beginning, … when I was detained, I thought it might have been a temporary thing. Probably after a couple of days, I’ll be released, I’ll be allowed to go home. With this false hope, after it lasted a couple of days or a couple of weeks, seeing what’s happening inside [the detention camp] and you’ll lose [hope] to a point where you realize this is not a mistake, this is not a temporary detainment. It was very well-meditated, pre-planned. [It’s] very systematic, the process of basically denying Uyghurs from who they are, what they believe in. Even to a certain point, after seeing or being through all of this torture inside and at some point, you will forget who you are, or like if you can think anymore. Basically … your may brain may just go blank and then at that point, or after a while, you realize basically this was a targeted attempt to completely eradicate or wipe out Uyghurs.”

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