Mug shots, taken from Chinese police files, show some of the millions of Uyghurs who have been held in at least 1200 Chinese concentration camps. Their crimes? They may have relatives in other countries, or they made the mistake of applying for a passport. They may have had more than three children. They might be seen as too religious, or they have been declared "untrustworthy." This has been happening for years in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, and the world has done almost nothing to stop it.
China's Methods: Gang Rapes and Torture
Tursunay Ziyawundun, a Uyghur, was imprisoned by the Chinese for visiting her family in nearby Kazakhstan. She told us, "Our cell was four square meters, and there were more than 20 people. And there was only one bucket to be used as a toilet. At night, they would take out some people, especially some young girls for interrogation. And we could hear their screaming. Some of the girls would bleed very badly. One woman had bite marks all over her body. And sometimes they would die because of the bleeding."
Tursunay was gang raped by prison guards and tortured with electric shocks to her genitals. Other prisoners face forced sterilization, slave labor, and brainwashing. Prisoners are regularly killed so their organs can be harvested.
"Everyone, literally every single prisoner, was subject to an organ examination. And after the examination, some people were put on a bus and taken somewhere else," Tursunay said.
Xinjiang: An Orwellian World of Total Surveillance
Those outside the camps live in an Orwellian world of constant surveillance. Every home has a QR code at the entrance, so police know who is inside, and an app on required for phones records everything people do.
Chinese police use an app that tells them everything about the person they are questioning, from their blood type to how much electricity they use. The app asks the officer if the person's reaction to being questioned was "normal" or "abnormal," and if the person "requires further investigation."
All Faiths Are Targeted
China is using every tool at its disposal in its war on faith. All faiths. Anything that might compete with the communist state.
Beijing is also imprisoning huge numbers of Falun Gong members, a Buddhist sect, and house church Christians.
Former President Trump's Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback said, "Christians are arrested. Pastors are put in jail. Whole congregations are forced to go underground. The Uyghurs, even if you're not in the concentration camp, you've got a camera for every other person. You've got a police station or kind of way station every 50 yards in the major cities. People are tracked constantly. They've taken genetic sampling of everybody. They've got facial recognition systems, and if you are an observant Muslim, you're targeted, and your family is targeted as well."
China's Campaign to Destroy the Uyghurs: 'Break Their Lineage, Break Their Roots'
With a government mandate to "Break Their Lineage, Break Their Roots," Beijing is using forced sterilization and forced marriages to bring an end to the Uyghurs as a people and a culture.
The Prime Minister-in-Exile of East Turkistan. what China now calls Xinjiang, Salih Hudayar, says, "The Chinese government, aside from sterilizing our population, it wants to breed us out essentially. So, they are forcing young Uyghur women to marry Han Chinese men. And if you refuse, then they're going to send you to a concentration camp and send everyone in your family into a concentration camp."
The man behind this repression is Chinese Politburo member Chen Quanguo, who was so successful in crushing resistance in Tibet that he was sent to Xinjiang to put in place a system to destroy Uyghur culture. He ruled there until the end of last year.
"He's the architect. He's the enforcer," Brownback says, "He was sanctioned by the US government under the Trump administration. He designed and implemented the take down of the Buddhist system in Tibet and then got moved to do something similar to the Muslim Uighurs as well."
"They've taken this very seriously. They fear religion," Brownback emphasized.
'Pair Up and Become Family': Chinese Party Members Invade Uyghur Homes
Under a program the Chinese government calls "Pair Up and Become Family," more than a million Chinese party members have been assigned to move into the homes of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, spending weeks as uninvited guests monitoring their behavior, sometimes sharing their beds, and trying to convert them to communism.
Meanwhile, the victims of Chinese repression feel abandoned by the United States and the world.
'The World Knows Exactly What's Happening and Has Done Nothing'
A highly anticipated UN report on China's repression in Xinjiang refrained from even using the term "genocide," even though the UN's own Genocide Convention defines 'genocide' as what China is doing to the Uyghurs. Prime Minister Hudayar suspects the UN caved to pressure from China.
After the White House claimed Joe Biden raised the topic of genocide and the enslavement of Uyghur Muslims in a phone call with Chinese leader Xi Jingping recently, the Chinese government insisted that no, he did not.
And sanctions by the US and other Western nations have not worked.
Brownback says, "You know, you could look at it and say, 'Look, I'm a Christian. It really doesn't apply to me.' But it does apply to you because as soon as they go after one faith group, they're going to go after the next."
"The target is people of faith, the war is China's war on faith, and it's all faiths," Brownback added.
Tursunay Ziyawundun said, "The American government knows exactly what China is doing to the Uyghurs. The world knows exactly what's happening.