The Communist Chinese state has seized upon coronavirus outbreaks as an opportunity to further oppress Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province, according to the Associated Press.
Communist Party authorities have been force-feeding the province’s residents unmarked traditional Chinese medicines, implementing strict and unrelenting quarantines, as well as hosing down men, women and children with disinfectant, the Associated Press reports.
One Uighur woman told the Associated Press that she remains locked down despite tests showing she’s coronavirus-free. She claims authorities force her to take traditional Chinese medicines in unmarked bottles under the threat of detainment. Earlier in the lockdown, she was arrested and placed in a detention center in a cell with dozens of others. Once a week, guards forced the women to strip and sprayed them with disinfectant, according to the Associated Press.
“It was scalding,” the Uighur woman told the Associated Press. “My hands were ruined, my skin was peeling.”
Uighur Muslims, as well as others in the Xinjiang province, have been locked in their homes for 45 days now after an outbreak of 826 new cases in Xinjiang since mid-July, per the Associated Press. Those who break quarantine or fail to comply with the demands of the Chinese authorities are arrested, or worse. (RELATED: Unmasking China’s Uyghur Camps With Irade Kashgary)
When Beijing had an outbreak of 300 cases in June, the lockdown only affected a few neighborhoods. But in Xinjiang the lockdown extends for hundreds of miles, encompassing more than half of Xinjiang’s 25 million residents, the Associated Press reports.
While other Chinese provinces such as Wuhan and Hubei were forced to go into lockdowns carrying similar punishments for violations, the residents of these provinces were not forced to take traditional Chinese medicines or be hosed down naked by guards, according to the Associated Press.
The draconian measures taken to combat the coronavirus outbreak has affected the Han residents of Xinjiang as well, but they are not subjected to the extrajudicial actions routinely taken against minority communities, per the Associated Press.
The injustices that continue to be inflicted on the Uighur people are horrifying. https://t.co/Zjbqay0AY2
— Sahar Fatima (@sahar_fatima) August 31, 2020
Xinjiang residents have taken to social media to raise awareness about their treatment by Chinese authorities; however, China’s extensive police state and censorship policies are thwarting attempts to get their message out, per the same report.
A Han businessman told the Associated Press that despite the fact he had taken five coronavirus tests, each one negative, authorities still hadn’t allowed him to leave his residence. He also claims his social media posts criticizing the lockdown have disappeared or been deleted, per the Associated Press.
On the Chinese social media site Weibo, he reportedly wrote “the most terrible thing is silence. After a long silence, you will fall into the abyss of hopelessness.”
A Han Chinese woman posted photos of herself being forced to take traditional Chinese medicine by a medical worker in full protective gear, per the same report.
“Why are you forcing us to drink medicine when we’re not sick!” she asked in an Aug. 18 post that was swiftly deleted, per the AP. “Who will take responsibility if there’s problems after drinking so much medicine? Why don’t we even have the right to protect our own health?”
“I’ve lost all hope. I cry when I think about it,” she reportedly said in a later post.
Throughout President Xi Jinping’s tenure as leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the AP reports he has pushed for an increase in the utilization of traditional Chinese medicine as part of his attempt to revive traditional Chinese culture.
The government has reportedly used the coronavirus outbreak to do just that, despite little to no clinical evidence the remedies combat or stop the virus in respected scientific journals. Some of the medicines have ingredients that are banned in western nations like Germany, Switzerland and the U.S., per the Associated Press.
Companies making traditional Chinese medicine are earning huge profits amid a state campaign to tout the remedies against COVID-19. Some residents in China’s far west Xinjiang region are even being forced to take the remedies amid a grueling lockdown. https://t.co/RA01yEp5Ci
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 31, 2020
While state media boasts the participation rate in their traditional Chinese medicine treatment program is “100%” in Xinjiang, residents have little choice or say in the matter, per the Associated Press. Experts say the CCP’s actions are a breach of medical ethics and that forcing residents to take traditional medicines is unprecedented.
Yu Xiangdong, a prominent doctor from the Hubei province, was reportedly fired from his position in hospital management in April for even questioning the use of traditional Chinese medicine.
The CCP said Yu “openly published inappropriate remarks slandering the nation’s epidemic prevention policy and traditional Chinese medicine,” according to the Associated Press.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian said “The Xinjiang Autonomous Region upheld the principle of people and life first….and guaranteed the safety and health of local people of all ethnic groups,” at a press briefing Friday in response to criticism of the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiant, the Associated Press reports.
The World Health Organization has also bowed to China, one of the organization’s co-founders. In March, it removed sections of its website questioning the effectiveness of herbal remedies in fighting the virus, per the Associated Press.
Since then, the CCP has pushed traditional Chinese remedies as treatment for coronavirus all over the world, from Italy to Iran.