Added: Randolf Brewington - Date: 14.04.2022 21:21 - Views: 11802 - Clicks: 3584
After 10 years living in France, I returned to China to some papers and I was locked up. For the next two years, I was systematically dehumanised, humiliated and brainwashed. His voice was unfamiliar to me. It was Novemberand I had been on unpaid leave from the company since I left China and moved to France 10 years earlier.
There was static on the line; I had a hard time hearing him. Why should I come back for some paperwork? Why go all that way for such a trifle? Why now? The man had no answers for me. He simply said he would call me back in two days after looking into the possibility of letting my friend act on my behalf. My husband, Kerim, had left Xinjiang in to look for work.
He tried first in Kazakhstan, but came back disillusioned after a year. Then in Norway.
Then France, where he had applied for asylum. Once he was settled there, our two girls and I would him. Kerim had always known he would leave Xinjiang. The idea had taken root even before we were hired by the oil company. We had met as students in Urumqi, the largest city in Xinjiang province, and, as new graduates, had begun looking for work. This was in In the job in the newspapers, there was often a little phrase in small print: No Uighurs.
This never left him.
While I tried to overlook the evidence of discrimination that followed us everywhere, with Kerim, it became an obsession. After graduation, we were offered jobs as engineers at the oil company in Karamay. We were lucky. But then there was the red envelope episode. Soon after, all the Uighurs were transferred out of the central office and moved to the outskirts of town. A few months later, when a senior position came up, Kerim applied. He had the right qualifications and the seniority. One night inKerim came home and announced that he had quit.
What my husband was experiencing was all too familiar. In short, Xinjiang without Uighurs. My daughters and I fled to France to my husband in Mayjust before Xinjiang entered an unprecedented period of repression. My daughters, 13 and 8 at the time, were given refugee status, as was their father. In seeking asylum, my husband had made a clean break with the past. Obtaining a French passport in effect stripped him of his Chinese nationality. For me, the prospect of turning in my passport held a terrible implication: I would never be able to return to Xinjiang.
I imagined my mother, getting on in years, dying alone in her village in the northern mountains. Giving up my Chinese nationality meant giving up on her, too. After the phone call, my head was buzzing with questions as I looked around the quiet living room of our apartment in Boulogne. Why did that man want me to go back to Karamay? Was it a ploy so the police could interrogate me? Nothing like this had happened to any of the other Uighurs I knew in France. The man called back two days later. You must come to Karamay in person. After all, it was only a matter of a few documents.
When I hung up, a shiver ran down my spine. I dreaded going back to Xinjiang. Kerim had been doing his best to reassure me for two days now, but I had a bad feeling about it.
At this time of year, Karamay city was in the grip of a brutal winter. Gusts of icy wind howled down the avenues, between the shops, houses and apartment buildings. A few bundled-up figures braved the elements, hugging the walls, but on the whole, there was not a soul to be seen.
But what I feared most of all were the ever-stricter measures regulating Xinjiang. Anyone who set foot outside their home could be arrested for no reason at all. The event marked a turning point in the recent history of the region. Later, the Chinese Communist party would blame the entire ethnic group for these horrible acts, justifying its repressive policies by claiming that Uighur households were a hotbed of radical Islam and separatism.
The summer of saw the entrance of a ificant new player in the long struggle between our ethnic group and the Communist party. Chen Quanguo, who had made his reputation imposing draconian surveillance measures in Tibet, was named head of Xinjiang province.
With his arrival, the repression of Uighurs escalated dramatically. Detainees were sent there to be brainwashed — and worse. The trip would only take a few weeks. A few days after I landed in China, on the morning of 30 NovemberI went to the oil company office in Karamay to the vaunted documents related to my upcoming retirement. In the office with its flaking walls sat the ant, a sour-voiced Han, and his secretary, hunched behind a screen.
The next stage took place in Kunlun police station, a minute drive from the company head office. On the way, I prepared my answers to the questions I was likely to be asked. I tried to steel myself. After leaving my belongings at the front desk, I was led to a narrow, soulless room: the interrogation room.
The quiet hum of the heater, the poorly cleaned whiteboard, the pallid lighting: these set the scene. Then one of the officers shoved a photo under my nose. It made my blood boil. It was a face I knew as well as my own — those full cheeks, that slender nose. It was my daughter Gulhumar. In the photo, she was smiling, a miniature East Turkestan flag in her hand, a flag the Chinese government had banned. The occasion was one of the demonstrations organised by the French branch of the World Uighur Congress, which represents Uighurs in exile and speaks out against Chinese repression in Xinjiang.
You can go to protest repression in Xinjiang, but also, as Gulhumar did, to see friends and catch up with the community of exiles. At the time, Kerim was a frequent attender. The girls went once or twice. I never did.
My daughter is not a terrorist! Neither is my husband! All I remember is that photo, their aggressive questions, and my futile replies. Are we done here? At ease! It was a nondescript rectangular classroom. A big metal shutter, perforated with tiny holes that let the light in, hid the outside world from us. Eleven hours a day, the world was reduced to this room. Our slippers squeaked on linoleum. Two Han soldiers relentlessly kept time as we marched up and down the room. In reality, it was tantamount to military training. Our exhausted bodies moved through the space in unison, back and forth, side to side, corner to corner.
He ordered us to remain still. This could last half an hour, or just as often a whole hour, or even more. When it did, our legs began to prickle all over with pins and needles. Our bodies, still warm and restless, struggled not to sway in the moist heat.
We could smell our own foul breath. We were panting like cattle.
Sometimes, one or another of us would faint. At first, this shocked me, but now I was used to it. You can get used to anything, even horror. I had never heard of these mysterious schools, or the courses they offered. The women who shared my cell said it would be like a normal school, with Han teachers.Women want sex Chinese Camp
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