The Slaves of the 21st Century – The Uyghurs

By Tahir Imin Uyghurian

While we are living freely during this time, millions of young Uyghur boys and girls are being enslaved in conditions similar to the black Africans who were captured and enslaved in historical films – under severe physical and mental oppression and humiliation.

They are separated from their loved ones, children, parents, siblings, friends, and banished forever to newly built slave cities in the middle of uninhabited deserts.

They are thrown into far and unfamiliar cities and among strange peoples. They are handed over to ruthless labor supervisors who know nothing but hard labor, tools, and product quotas.

They wake up at 6 am, line up and go to the toilet. At every point, other than the guards and security personnel, they are grouped in threes to monitor each other’s words and actions. Before meals, they all raise their bowls alike, line up in front of the cafeteria, and chant in Chinese: “Socialism is good”, “Long live Xi Jinping”, “Without the Communist Party, there would be no new China”.

Afterward, they put on work uniforms, line up in the yard, and jog in rhythm chanting “One-two-one” in Chinese while surrounded by Chinese military guards.

Then each goes to their assigned position, clocking in with their worker number.

Everyone’s job is clear – to fulfill the demanding annual and monthly quotas and strict discipline is their only condition for continued survival, to live, and possibly see their distant relatives. Their life has no value or regard beyond the machine they operate or the product their hands make.

No talking, no chatting, no games, no laughter, no crying, no wandering, no fighting at the workplace. If there is disobedience, distraction, machine malfunction, photography, raising voice to the Chinese boss, or even glaring – solitary confinement without food for “political study” for the lower ranks; the higher ranks face criminal penalties right on the spot carried out by the factory military and guards.

Their back aches, head aches, eyes strain, body tires with no rest. After 14 hours of hard labor without a whimper, they have a collective dinner followed by 2 hours of TV propaganda: “You have fallen victim to terrorism, we are saving you through labor. You are part of the Chinese nation, only labor can save you.” “Only by obeying the rules, defending the Communist Party, working hard and producing high-quality and high-quantity products can you stay alive.”

They long for their families – is their father alive? How is their sister? Where is their daughter wandering? If only they could hear their voices once. But they cannot make calls.

Their spirit tires, they cry, their tongues are checked, their heads are washed, sometimes beaten. Their days pass in fear and beatings. They lose all hope in the world and life. The younger ones hear the sounds of beatings and cries of pain. Every slave worker can only imagine the horror of the beatings and whippings with dread until they themselves are stripped and beaten into “discipline”. Sometimes at night, female slave workers chosen by the Chinese boss are forcibly stripped to entertain him sexually. They wish to die rather than suffer such humiliation. Some do die. They are then put under stricter surveillance, denied even the chance to commit suicide.

Their separation from the outside world is vast. They can only imagine life and the outside through their fading yet lingering memories – the life they used to live, the homes, neighborhoods, familiar faces and their stories, clothes, food, books, music, cities they visited.

The world for them is cramped dorms, factory buildings, lines of frightened faces, terrifying sounds of whippings.

“If only I could die eating a similar laghman noodle dish! Will I ever get to taste that shooting laghman from Dongkovruk again?” says 43-year-old Ghalip from Aksu, enslaved in a Chinese factory in Jijiang.

“My daughter was in elementary school, she must be a grown woman now. Does she miss me? She must, she must cry,” says 36-year-old Guljamal from Hotan, imprisoned in a factory in Guangdong.

“It’s been 4 years without contact with my wife and two little children. Where are they, are they even alive? I live for them, I will get out of here somehow,” says Khalmurat from Ghulja, imprisoned in a newly built slave city in Taklamakan.

“My parents died in the camps, my brother and cousin were sentenced to 15 years for having a relative in Turkey. They had little children. For their sake, I will stand firm!” says Arzugul from Urumqi, imprisoned in the slave city.

“I have no strength left, I’m tired, I have no more hope, these are not humans, they destroyed my body, crushed my pride, took away everything from me. Rather than living in such fear and dread, it’s better I die. I will find a way to kill myself, I’ll just provoke that guard at the gate, he’ll shoot me – that’s the most peaceful death!” said Mametjan from Kashgar.

These are the 21st century’s forgotten slaves, the voiceless victims enslaved by the inhumane Chinese regime and ruthless Chinese corporations on an industrial scale through the most extreme exploitation of human labor, material greed and political agendas.

They are the Uyghur slaves, the victims of the largest modern enslavement of humans by the most horrific ideas lurking in the human spirit in the 21st century.


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