“Like We Were Enemies in a War": China's Mass Internment, Torture, and Persecution of Muslims in XinjiangJune 11, 2021
Many interviewees told Amnesty that all members of ethnic minorities were required to attend flag-raising ceremonies every Monday morning. During these ceremonies, ex-detainees were often made to publicly “confess” their crimes, to speak out against extremism, to apologize for being an extremist, and to extol the virtues of the education they had received. Former detainees told Amnesty that only ethnic minorities were required to attend the village flag-raising. According to Meryemgul, members of the village who had not been in camps were also required to go, but only ethnic minorities were truly compelled to attend: “Only Uyghurs go. [Han] Chinese people, they laugh at us,” she said.
Shortly after she was released after more than a year in the camps, Dariga was told to write and then read at a flag-raising ceremony a statement praising the CCP and instructing others not to practise religion:
I was told to say… ‘I Dariga am the daughter of… I have been to a camp… because I made a mistake and now, with thanks to the Party, I have reversed my mistakes… and now I live in the right thanks to the Party. They put me on the right path.’ I also had to say that we shouldn’t be religious, that it is wrong. We shouldn’t pray. We should always follow the Party.
Family members of detainees also had to speak at flag-raising ceremonies. Bolat told Amnesty International his brother was made to speak about him at a flag-raising ceremony. “[My brother] had to confess that his brother had a ‘disease’ and that he was ashamed and sorry,” he said.
Other former detainees told Amnesty their ID was confiscated for a time after their release. “[When I wasn’t in class or at a flag-raising ceremony], I had to stay at home the rest of the time, because the inspector could come at any time. I had to be found in one of these places at all times. My ID was taken. I wasn’t free,” Aisanali told Amnesty.