Former inmates of China’s Muslim ‘reeducation’ camps tell of brainwashing, tortureMay 17, 2018
There, he faced seemingly endless brainwashing and humiliation, he said in an interview, and was forced to study communist propaganda for hours every day and chant slogans giving thanks and wishing long life to President Xi Jinping.
“Those who disobeyed the rules, refused to be on duty, engaged in fights or were late for studies were placed in handcuffs and ankle cuffs for up to 12 hours,” he said. Further disobedience would result in waterboarding or long periods strapped in agony in a metal contraption known as a “tiger chair,” Samarkand said, a punishment he said he suffered.
The 30-year-old stayed in a dormitory with 14 other men. After the room was searched every morning, he said, the day began with two hours of study on subjects including “the spirit of the 19th Party Congress,” where Xi expounded his political dogma in a three-hour speech, and China’s policies on minorities and religion. Inmates would sing communist songs, chant “Long live Xi Jinping” and do military-style training in the afternoon before writing accounts of their day, he said.
Bekali described a day that would begin with a flag-raising ceremony at 6:30 a.m., followed by a rendition of one or more “red” songs praising the communist revolution. After breakfast, inmates would spend 10 minutes thanking the Communist Party and Xi for providing everything for the people, from food and drink to their livelihoods.
Inmates had to learn the national anthem and red songs, he said, as well as slogans condemning the “three evil forces” of separatism, extremism and terrorism.
“There were so many things to recite, and if you couldn’t recite them, they wouldn’t allow you to eat, sleep or sit,” he said. “They brainwash you; you must become like a robot. Listen to whatever the party says, listen to the party’s words, follow the party.”
Some inmates committed suicide, Bekali said.
Both men said the food was poor, with meat infrequent and food poisoning not uncommon. Inmates sometimes were forced to eat pork, forbidden in Islam, as punishment, while Bekali said those accused of being “religious extremists” also were forced to drink alcohol.