‘Deeply disturbing’ footage surfaces of blindfolded Uyghurs at train station in Xinjiang – ABC News
Australia’s Foreign Minister and members of the Uyghur community have condemned a “deeply disturbing” and “horrifying” video of Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang that has surfaced online.
- Video purportedly shows Chinese police herding hundreds of Uyghur men
- The men have had their heads shaved and are blindfolded and shackled
- Australia condemned the “deeply disturbing” footage and China’s treatment of Muslims
The footage purportedly shows dozens of Uyghur men — their heads freshly shaved —blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs during a mass transfer at a train station in the north-west region of China.
The video, posted to YouTube last week anonymously by War on Fear, has been verified as authentic by Nathan Ruser, a satellite analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Mr Ruser said by zooming in on Google Earth details like the shadow cast from a pole or the planting of bushes, he could determine the footage was shot in either April or August in 2018 at a train station west of the city of Korla.
“Through all of those methods I was able to basically verify that that video is legitimate,” he told the ABC.
“It very clearly demonstrates that the impression of Xinjiang that China’s trying to give the world isn’t true.
“They take journalists and diplomats on very guided, very manicured tours around the region, to particular camps to highlight what they call progress and human rights in the region.
“However, this video undercuts that narrative and shows clearly the very inhumane treatment that detained individuals get in the system, in the crackdown that started in 2017 in western China.”
A report from Sky News also cited an unnamed European security source identifying the footage as legitimate.
China maintains its treatment of Uyghurs — a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority — is necessary to counter terrorism and extremism.
The Chinese Government has repeatedly denied its detention facilities are “concentration camps” and said they equate to boarding schools and vocational training centres.
The United Nations has said there are credible reports that at least 1 million Uyghurs are detained in Xinjiang’s “re-education” camps.
Mr Ruser said it appeared the detainees were being transferred from a detention centre in Kashgar to a new facility.
“All the evidence points to this being standard practice in how this crackdown is being perpetrated. And it’s a very shocking visual reminder of that,” he said.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne described the video as “deeply disturbing”.
“I am aware of the deeply disturbing video that has been published online,” she said in a statement.
“I have previously raised Australia’s concerns about reports of mass detentions of Uyghurs and other Muslim peoples in Xinjiang.
“We have consistently called for China to cease the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim groups. We have raised these concerns — and we will continue to raise them — both bilaterally and in relevant international meetings.”
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its embassy in Australia have been approached for comment.
‘It’s chilling and very horrifying’
Alim Osman, president of the Uyghur Association of Victoria, said it was “sad and heartbreaking” for the community in Australia to see videos like this circulating.
“It’s chilling and it’s very horrifying for us. We feel like we are alone in this battle against the Chinese communist regime,” he told the ABC.
“We in Australia feel powerless and we feel guilty because we can’t do anything about it.
“[It] feels like exactly the same as what happened in Nazi Germany — it’s happening in the twenty-first century again,” he said.
There have been troubling reports of Uyghur children being separated from their families, the sterilisation of Uyghur women and China collecting blood and DNA samples from Uyghurs.
Mr Osman welcomed the comments from Ms Payne.
“[It’s] time for the international community, especially our government, to speak out [against] what’s happening in Xinjiang,” he said.
“If we don’t speak out at this time of history, I think the Chinese communist regime is going to do more harm than good to us and to humanity.”