While Sayragul Sauytbay was held in a government-run concentration camp in China’s Xinjiang province, she was forced to sign a paper mandating her own death if she spoke of the camp’s atrocities. Undeterred, since her escape she has raised awareness of the horrors perpetrated against the Uyghur people, receiving an International Woman of Courage Award from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in 2020.
Her book “The Chief Witness: Escape From China’s Modern-Day Concentration Camps,” written with journalist Alexandra Cavelius, came out earlier this month and is available from publisher Scribe. Excerpts published Saturday by the Daily Mail reveal stories of torture, organ harvesting, rape, and plans for global dominance from the gulags of the Chinese Communist Party.
The U.S. State Department estimated in 2018 the CCP had forced possibly more than 2 million people, mostly Uyghur Muslims, into camps in China’s Xinjiang province. According to satellite photos from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the number of camps had reached 380 by September 2020. Sauytbay was forced to work as a teacher at one of them, before her release in 2018 and subsequent escape to Sweden.
Torture Rooms and Vanishing Corpses
Sauytbay tells of a torture chamber she calls the “black room,” near the guardhouse at the camp where she was imprisoned. The screams coming from the black room “sounded like the raw cries of a dying animal,” she says. “The second you hear them, you know what kind of agony that person is experiencing.”
She recalls seeing chains on the walls in the black room, and chairs with “nails sticking out of the seats” where inmates would be tied down. Torture devices on the walls “looked like they were from the Middle Ages,” including “implements used to pull out fingernails and toenails,” and a spear-like rod “for jabbing into a person’s flesh.” Electric chairs, “iron chairs with holes in the back so that the arms could be twisted back above the shoulder joint,” and other chairs designed to pin victims down lined one side of the room.
“Many of the people they tortured never came back out of that room,” she says. “Others stumbled out, covered in blood.”
Secretive orders mandated that any prisoners who died or were killed “must vanish without a trace,” Sauytbay recalls. “There should be no visible signs of torture on the bodies … Any evidence, proof, or documentation was to be immediately destroyed.”
“Taking photos or video recordings of the corpses was strictly forbidden,” she adds. The families of the deceased either received “vague excuses” or, sometimes, “it was advisable simply never to mention they had died at all.”
Dragged Away, Tortured, and Raped
Recalling one of her “classes” in the camps, Sauytbay says, “I was barely even listening to myself talk about our self-sacrificing patriarch Xi Jinping, who ‘passes on the warmth of love with his hands’ [while] several of the ‘students’ collapsed unconscious and fell off their plastic chairs.”
When prisoners fell unconscious, from anguish or stress, the guards “grabbed the unconscious person by both arms, and dragged them away like a doll, their feet trailing across the floor,” Sauytbay says. “They didn’t just take the unconscious, the sick, and the mad … sometimes it was simply because a prisoner hadn’t understood one of the guard’s orders, issued in Chinese.”
One 84-year-old woman Sauytbay remembers was accused of making an international phone call. Despite her denial, the camp guards punished her by ripping out her fingernails.
Another woman, in her twenties, admitted to texting a greeting to a friend for a Muslim holiday as a teenager. As punishment, the guards gang-raped her, while Sauytbay was forced to watch. “While they were raping her they checked to see how we were reacting,” she recalled in 2019. “People who turned their head or closed their eyes, and those who looked angry or shocked, were taken away and we never saw them again.”
Forced Organ Harvesting
Inmates who were healthy and young often had their medical files marked by a red X. “It was simply a fact that the Party took organs from prisoners,” Sauytbay says. She began to suspect those inmates were being forcefully used for organ harvesting. Organs from Muslim donors are often preferred by other Muslims because they are “halal.”
“I realised that these young, healthy inmates were disappearing overnight, whisked away by the guards,” Sauytbay adds. “When I checked later, I realised to my horror that all their medical files were marked with a red X.”
Plans For World Domination
Sauytbay also recalls seeing classified papers from Beijing outlining a plan to overtake Europe by 2055. The first step, alongside the years 2014-2015, was to “assimilate those who are willing in Xinjiang, and eliminate those who are not.”
Step two called for the annexing of “neighboring countries” between 2025 and 2035. China has already started to test its borders. In 2020, the Chinese government built 11 buildings inside the Nepalese district of Humla, and denied Nepal’s claim to the district. In the same year, the CCP passed a “security” law over Hong Kong and used it to charge and imprison pro-democracy legislators and activists.
The third step, to be achieved between 2035 and 2055, was the “occupation of Europe.”
Western nations cannot afford — morally or practically — to turn a blind eye to the Chinese government’s abuses against its own people, the survivor says. “The current situation has already surpassed ethnic and religious issues,” Sauytbay told Radio Free Asia in 2020. “[It] has risen to a level of humanitarian tragedy.”