Rushan Abbas, a Uighur American activist, whose sister went missing in China almost two years ago and is believed to be locked in a detention camp, said that the Chinese regime must be held accountable for its crime against humanity which it manifests in many forms including mass rape, organ harvesting and sterilisation.
Gulshan Abbas, a retired Uighur medical doctor, went missing two years ago and her family began a search to find her. Nearly two years later, they got to know that she was apprehended and sent to one of the facilities that the Chinese Communist Party calls “vocational schools,” the dreaded transformation through education camps.
Rushan, who is the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Campaign for Uighurs, believes that her sister was detained for “a clear retaliatory action for my public activism”. The activist called for the immediate release of her sister as she has committed no crime.
Rushan, who was born in the capital of Xinjiang in Urumqi, moved to the United States and attended Washington State University in 1989 where she pursued studies in Plant Pathology. She became a vocal activist and advocate for the human rights of Uighurs.
On September 5, 2018, Rushan Abbas participated in a panel discussion named “China’s “War on Terrorism” and the Xinjiang Emergency”. She talked about the fate of her in-laws and conditions of China’s camps. Six days later, Rushan’s sister and aunt were detained by the Chinese government as retaliation for her speech at Hudson Institute.
In a video, Rushan said, “My sister Dr Abbas was abducted by the Chinese regime, a clear retaliatory action for my public activism. We have had no contact from her since and the Chinese government has issued no statement regarding her current state or her whereabouts, the only news I have had about her came from an inquiry by Radio Free Asia who published an article on June 3.”
“After 21 months, confirming that she has been detained by contacting the hospital she used to work, my sister has committed no crime. She is a retired medical doctor who has always been a good citizen,” the activist said.
The Uighurs are a majority in the Xinjiang province, situated in the western part of China and is officially designated as an autonomous region. Many international human rights organisations have accused Beijing of cracking down on the Uighurs by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forceful re-education or indoctrination.
Rushan lists few crimes committed by the Chinese regime including kidnapping, forced marriage, mass rape, mandatory births control, forced abortion, forced sterilisation, arrest beating, torture, child abduction, brainwashing, organ harvesting, crematoria and genocide.
“My sister must be released and unconditionally. China must be held accountable for its crime against humanity,” she said.
Last month, a US report issued by the Department of State said that China uses counter-terrorism as a pretext to detain and carry out a repressive campaign against millions of Uighurs and members of other Muslim minority groups in internment camps in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region located in the northwestern part of the country.
The report said that the Chinese Communist Party has detained more than one million Uighurs and members of other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang since April 2017 because of their religion and ethnicity, and subjected them to political, linguistic, and cultural indoctrination as well as forced disappearance, torture, physical abuse — including forced sterilisation and sexual abuse — and prolonged detention without trial.
The Chinese authorities also developed new legal guidelines and law enforcement tools to expand their capabilities to carry out this repressive campaign, which included pervasive, arbitrary, high-tech surveillance, the collection of personal data including DNA samples, compulsory stays by Chinese government officials in Uighur homes and controls on the expression of cultural or religious observations, the report highlighted.
People in the internment camps have described being subjected to forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings and denial of food and medicine, and say they have been prohibited from practising their religion or speaking their language.
Now, as Beijing denies these accounts, it also refuses to allow independent inspections into the regions, at the same time, which further fuels reports related to China’s atrocities on the minority Muslims.
Classified documents known as the China Cables, accessed last year, by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, threw light on how the Chinese government uses technology to control Uighurs worldwide.
China put a million or more Uighurs and other Muslim minorities into detention camps and prisons in Xinjiang over the last three years under President Xi Jinping’s directives to “show absolutely no mercy” in the struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism”, revealed the leaked documents released in US media.
Over 400 pages of documents of the Chinese government released by The New York Times, however, do not record Xi directly ordering the creation of the detention facilities. They mention that he ascribed Xinjiang’s instability to the widespread influence of toxic beliefs and demanded they be eradicated, as per an article by Austin Ramzy for the US daily.