Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang province are starving in their own homes. Others have serious medical problems due to lack of care. Due to a lockdown, the Uyghurs have not been allowed to leave their homes for weeks and are barely given anything to eat. Desperate Uighurs are asking for help on social media.
“I am starving in my house,” writes a Uyghur woman in utter despair to NU.nl. For fear of being arrested by the Chinese government, she wishes to remain anonymous. She lives in the capital Ürümqi in the western province of Xinjiang.
The Chinese authorities systematically discriminate against the Uyghur minority, the UN High Commissioner recently noted in a report. The country can also commit crimes against humanity.
In total, millions of Uighurs have been in concentration camps in recent years. The people who are not locked up have not been allowed to leave their homes since August. The authorities argue that the corona pandemic must be suppressed. But Han Chinese in Xinjiang are subject to a less strict lockdown than the Uyghurs.
‘We are at the mercy of the government’
The woman states in her message to NU.nl that this is the third lockdown this year. When Uyghur residents leave the house, they risk disappearing into one of the many detention centers. They are forced to buy food parcels, which often arrive late or not at all. The packages regularly contain food that is no longer fresh, while asking a lot of money for it. Sometimes there is no food for a week. “We get no explanation. The government does what it wants. We are at their mercy.”
The woman’s story is not an isolated story. There are dozens of similar statements on Twitter and other social media. A video shows a grandmother screaming desperately next to a bed where her sick and hungry grandchildren and daughter lie. Another video shows residents of an apartment complex screaming and banging pots and pans. There are also reports that pregnant women have been denied help.
On September 8, a video was made of a woman jumping to her death from her balcony after weeks of isolation. The recording was made in Ürümqi. Before stepping over the railing of her balcony, the woman shouts: “Don’t help me, I want to die!” Police recently confirmed her death. There would have been ‘mental problems’.
New York Times quoted an unnamed Chinese official on Saturday as saying that 12 people have died from a combination of starvation and lack of medical care in Xinjiang’s Gurkiratma village.
Pop musicians are asking the government to take action
In China, there has been an uproar about the starving civilians in Xinjiang. In particular, a series of messages from the town of Yili, which is usually a popular holiday area, caused a stir on social media. Chinese pop musicians and other well-known Chinese people reacted with indignation and asked the authorities to take action.
Meanwhile, local administrators have promised to go to the houses with food and medicine. But no excuses have been given for the weeks-long imprisonment of the citizens.
Leaked documents show that authorities have issued internal orders to employees involved in social media. They should post as many posts as possible on safe topics like food, family and vacations to drown out the starving and jailed civilians in Xinjiang. It appears from internal documents that have recently been China Digital Times has been leaked.
The World Uyghur Organization expresses serious concerns over the situation
“Starving people is a form of genocide,” says Enwer Erdem from the Dutch Uyghur Human Rights Foundation. “When the corona pandemic started, many Uyghurs were put in camps under the guise of prevention. Now people are locked up at home without food and medicine. We ask for an immediate end to the persecution.”
Next Wednesday, Dutch Uighurs demonstrate at the Chinese embassy. They want the Uyghurs to no longer be locked in their homes under the guise of fighting the corona pandemic.