Xinjiang: Children of Uyghur deportees locked in orphanages
Children whose parents are locked up in re-education camps are separated from their families and placed in orphanages, sometimes far from relatives, elsewhere in China. Conditions in certain facilities are “terrible". Meanwhile, China’s crackdown and forced deportation of Uyghurs continue.
Urumqi (AsiaNews/RFA) – The persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang continues.
Following mass deportations of civilians to re-education camps, the Chinese authorities have found a solution for the children of the deportees. According to local sources, children left alone are locked up in orphanages.
“Children left without parents have been sent to orphanages temporarily until their parents are released,” said a police officer in Chinibagh, a village in Qaraqash Prefecture.
The children “are being placed in the Qaraqash township orphanage because they have no one to look after them.” At present there are 50 to 60 Uyghur children in this facility.
A worker at another orphanage in southern Xinjiang said conditions are terrible. Children between the ages of six months and 12 years are locked up like farm animals in a shed, the source told Radio Free Asia. Some of the children have even been moved to facilities elsewhere in China.
Meanwhile, Ayhan Memet, mother of Dolkun Isa, leader of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), passed away on 17 May 2018 at the age of 78 in a re-education camp.
The WUC president was unsure if she had been incarcerated in one of the many “political re-education camps”.
Chinese authorities often target and deport Uyghurs with relatives abroad. Family members in exile often have difficulty in getting information about relatives left in China.
Memet had been detained for about a year at a detention centre in Aksu (Akesu in Chinese) Prefecture for exhibiting "religious extremism". Her son Isa has been living in exile since 1994 and the last time she talked to her mother was a year ago.
“Killing one’s mother to retaliate against her son’s peaceful human rights activism is the most cowardly form of retaliation by any authoritarian government,” Isa said.
“I will solemnly mourn her death and continue to peacefully fight for the legitimate rights of the Uyghur people with dignity, in spite of my personal suffering and sacrifice.”
Speaking about his father, “I don't know what he is going through at the hands of the Chinese government,” he said, noting that he “may also be in a detention camp.”