Uyghurs in ‘re-education camps’ forced to eat pork on Fridays as China pushes to expand pig farms in Xinjiang
The Uyghur Muslims in Chinese “re-education” camps are forced to eat pork every Friday, confirmed Sayragul Sautbay, who was one of the victims of the atrocities being committed by the Chinese government.
Speaking in an interview with Al Jazeera, Sayragul said, “Every Friday, we were forced to eat pork meat...They have intentionally chosen a day that is holy for the Muslims. And if you reject it, you would get a harsh punishment.”
She is a medical physician and an educator living in Sweden. Recently, she published a book giving insight into her ordeal, including witnessing beatings.
“I was feeling like I was a different person. All around me got dark. It was really difficult to accept,” Sautbay said.
Another such victim is Uyghur businesswoman Zumret Dawut, who was picked up in March 2018 in Urumqi.
For two months, Dawut said authorities questioned her links to Pakistan, her husband’s homeland. They questioned her as well about how many children she had, and whether or not they had studied religion and read the Quran, said Al Jazeera.
She further said that once she had to beg the camp’s male officers to allow her to go to the washroom. She was allowed to go while being handcuffed and the male officers followed her into the washroom.
Speaking on pork being served to the Uyghur Muslims in the camps, she said, “When you sit in a concentration camp, you do not decide whether to eat, or not to eat. To be alive, we had to eat the meat served to us.”
As per the documents available to Al Jazeera, agricultural development has also become a part of what German anthropologist and Uyghur scholar, Adrian Zenz, says is a policy of “secularisation”.
Citing documents and state-approved news articles, Zenz has reported that there is an “active” effort in the region to promote and expand pig farming.
In 2019, Xinjiang’s top administrator, Shohrat Zakir, had said that the Xinjiang region will be turned into a “pig-raising hub”.
The project is expected to occupy a 25,000-square-metre (82-square-foot) area in an industrial park in Kashgar’s Konaxahar county, renamed Shufu, according to the Chinese-language website, Sina, Al Jazeera reported.
It further reported that the deal was formally signed on April 23 this year.
“This is part of the attempt to completely eradicate the culture and religion of the people in Xinjiang,” Zenz told Al Jazeera.
“It is part of the strategy of secularisation, of turning the Uighurs secular and indoctrinating them to follow the communist party and become agnostic or atheist,” he added.
As the atrocities on the Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region gain international attention, China has continued to defend its policies, claiming that the objective is to combat the “three evils of extremism, separatism and terrorism”.