Uighurs who get the chance and dare, flights abroad. One of them is Omir Bekali. He too was arrested out of the blue, tortured and taken to a camp. He managed to reach Europe and told us about degrading conditions. “You are forced to make confessions for something that you have not done. If you do not, horrific punishments follow”.
At the end of March he told his story to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs at the invitation of MP Martijn Van Helvert (CDA). Van Helvert received a letter from the Chinese embassy the day before the meeting. Did he know that Mr. Bekali was a terrorist?
“Without knowing in advance what Mr. Bekali was going to say, I received that letter,” says Van Helvert. “The Chinese government already told me what Mr. Bekali was going to say and that that would be incorrect. The letter starts with “We have noticed that you will soon be receiving the so-called ex-prisoner from the so-called re-education camp” and further on they speak of “terrorists” and that Mr. Bekali is one of them. “
Van Helvert then met Omir Bekali and spoke to people and aid organizations around him. “What I see is that he is a former prisoner of a detention camp in Xinjiang. The Chinese government is not happy with Mr Bekali's activities because he is spreading the story to the rest of the world.”
After the letter, Van Helvert received an invitation from the Chinese embassy for an interview. He responded to that and during that meeting he received a USB stick with a video gift. The images show how repentant Uighurs explain that they have been 'saved' by the 'schools'. Stripped of their extremist ideology, they say they are facing a bright future.
“There are some kind of promotional videos on it, how beautiful the province is and how nice everyone lives there in peace,” says Van Helvert. “But it is a disguise of the great human rights sacrifice that is currently taking place in China.”