Beijing has cracked down on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and detained millions of Uyghurs in so-called re-education camps.

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Nury Turkel, an Uyghur-American human rights advocate, has shared his experience of how the Chinese regime has turned his homeland into the world’s largest open-air prison. Turkel is also the vice-chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. 


Xinjiang has been under even stricter control since Chen Quanguo, former Tibet Party Secretary, was transferred from Tibet to hold the same role in Xinjiang from 2016 until 2021. He used brutal “maintaining stability” tactics to set up a local prevention and control system. These include expanding concentration camps, detaining millions of Uyghurs, ubiquitous surveillance cameras on the streets, police stand guard, and many more.

Turkel said, “The state department official Dan Nadel said that China had created an open-air prison for the Uyghur people. I think that’s an accurate description.”

The religious freedom official further explained that the Uyghurs are always under camera surveillance. Besides, their own mobile devices are actually the tracking and listening devices of the Chinese regime. Besides, the Uyghurs have to go through various daily checkpoints, subjecting themselves to daily humiliation simply because they are Uyghurs. 

According to Turkle, some locals can’t even get into their relatives’ apartment buildings. Because their personal information has not been reviewed and entered into the system before. 

The Uyghur human rights activists further called on the international community to care about other vulnerable groups under Beijing’s persecution. These include Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Catholics, and other groups. 

According to Turkle, the Falun Gong practitioners have long been subjected to forced organ harvesting all while the world hasn’t paid attention. Now, it’s happening to the Uyghur.

What makes Turkle worry is that Beijing is taking one group as a testing sample to then apply to the other. If successful, it would become a new norm. 

Besides, Turkle also pointed out that Beijing has changed its residents’ thinking through its brainwashing and education policies. These policies make the Chinese likely to look at the U.S.’s racial discrimination when somebody discusses Beijing’s poor human rights record instead of worrying about whether they will become Beijing’s next target. 

The religious freedom official expressed his concern that under this twisted mindset, people are trying to make excuses for the Chinese government’s persecution. In the end, the victims of the Chinese regime will suffer from an even worse situation. 

According to the Turkle, however, China’s strict epidemic control measures, including its many cities’ lockdown, have turned its residents into victims. Chinese residents have gradually realized that Beijing’s policies are not for the people but for maintaining its own regime. 

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.