Uyghur Women Subjected to Sexual Violence in CCP’s Xinjiang Repression: US Religious Freedom Commissioner

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Uyghur women are victims of sexual violence under the Chinese regime’s campaign of repression in Xinjiang, regardless of whether they are detained in an internment camp or not, according to Nury Turkel, vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

“They think all the sexual violence that they’re subjecting Uyghur women to, this mysterious drug that they’re giving, forced sterilization, collective punishment through gang rape, are the methods [through which] they are liberating the Uyghur women … just let that sink in,” Turkel recently told Epoch TV’s “American Thought Leaders” program.

According to estimates by researchers, the Chinese regime has detained more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in internment camps in the far western region of Xinjiang, where they are subjected to torture, rape, forced labor, and political indoctrination. The U.S. government and other Western democracies have labeled Beijing’s actions a genocide.

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Nury Turkel, the current vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, speaks in an interview with The Epoch Times in May 2021. (The Epoch Times)

Turkel, an Uyghur-American and author of the new book “No Escape: The True Story of China’s Genocide of the Uyghurs,” said he interviewed Uyghur survivors who confirmed that guards were always on the lookout for “younger, more vulnerable” female Uyghurs.

There was a “habitual practice” of those women being led out of the cell late at night, he added.

In cases where the rape resulted in a pregnancy, those babies would then be owned by the state and the mothers would disappear, the commissioner said.

“It reminds of the old KGB tactics to make babies and then let them train from the very early age, to be loyal to the Soviet regime,” Turkel said.

“It’s [also] a reminder of how Hitler treated the Jewish woman during the Holocaust,” he added.

Other testimonials Turkel received revealed that Uyghur women were subject to sexual violence even in their own homes when there was no male protection. Chinese cadres claiming to be relatives would invite themselves to stay with these families and some would demand sexual favors, he said.

“This is a wholesale attack … you will live in this fear, surveillance, even at your home. They come to stay with you and intimidate you, even using your children to spy on you,” Turkel said.

The religious freedom commissioner urged the international community to take action to stop the Chinese Communist Party’s crimes.

“If we don’t stop this atrocity, this crime committed against the Uyghurs, it may become a new norm, and they will be used against others, even though some of it has already been in practice.”

He used the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, which has been ongoing for more than two decades, to illustrate this point.

“Falun Gong practitioners were subjected to organ harvesting … and people didn’t pay attention. Now it’s happening to the Uyghurs.”

Hannah Ng


Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news.

Jan Jekielek


Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show, “American Thought Leaders.” Jan’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009 he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film “Finding Manny.”

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