With parents in “transformation through education” camps, the only time children can see them is through a short video call, which is monitored by authorities.
Anaer (pseudonym) and her husband were picked up from their home in Akto county in January. They were sent to a camp, and their three children are not under the government’s care.
Four months later, the village cadres arranged a video call between Anaer and the children. Both cried when they saw each other but were helpless to share their pain for armed guards were monitoring their conversation.
In another case, a seven-year-old Uyghur girl, Nigusha (pseudonym), is distraught because her parents were taken away to a camp as well. Her parents had recently visited Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage, and a visit to a “sensitive country” was grounds enough for Chinese authorities to break up this family. Her grandparents too have visited the country and could be taken away soon as well.
Nigusha is the youngest of the couple’s three children, the eldest being 17 years old. The children are currently living under their grandparent’s care, who received only 300 RMB (or 40 USD) in allowances.
Meanwhile, another couple in Xinjiang’s Korla was targeted for similar reasons. In this case, Azhuo’s (pseudonym) parents-in-law had gone for the pilgrimage to an Arab country, and because her husband had spoken to his parents on the phone regarding it, he was taken away to a camp last year. In March this year, he fell gravely ill and was hospitalized for 3.5 months. He was, however, not allowed to have any visitors. Azhuo and her parents-in-law could only take turns speaking with him over video calls.
The couple has three children, and every ten-minute call is extremely precious for the family. Azhuo said, “We had such a nice family. Because of the CCP policy, we have to wait in line just to meet and have a normal conversation.”
As per reports, every Sunday night, countless families line up and wait for the turn to make a video call to their loved ones. The calls last ten minutes at most and are monitored continuously.
Reported by Li Zaili