tirsdag 9. november 2021

Nury Turkel: I was born in a Chinese 'reeducation camp.' I'm watching history repeat itself

I was born in a Chinese reeducation camp, where my mother was detained in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which many Uyghurs call East Turkistan. For most of my life, I tried to forget the horrific experiences my mother and I had during my early childhood. But it seems the past is repeating itself -- and with a vengeance.

When I was born, the Uyghur region -- like the rest of China -- was in the throes of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution. It was a period of totalitarian zeal: Almost anyone suspected of not being adequately communist was beaten, jailed or killed. Religious and ethnic minorities were particular targets.

Mao's zealots, called the Red Guards, came to the traditional Uyghur homeland to enforce the brutal policies of the tyrannical regime. The Red Guards burned religious texts, destroyed mosques, banned Uyghur-language books and ordered millions of Uyghurs -- including my mother -- into reeducation camps to be indoctrinated in Maoist doctrines and to be "reformed" through hard labor.