CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota was left in shock Friday after hearing a report from correspondent Ivan Watson about the alleged treatment of Uighur women being held in internment camps in the Xinjiang region of China.
In her broadcast of “New Day,” Camerota prefaced Watson’s report with a background on the situation in Xinjiang. (RELATED: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Stops Short Of Definitively Saying That China Is Committing A Genocide Against The Uighurs)
“This morning, shocking allegations of gang rape in detention camps in China. The U.S. government accuses China of the mass internment of up to 2 million members of mostly Muslim ethnic minority groups in recent years,” Camerota said. “Part of a policy that the U.S. State Department says amounts to genocide. Beijing denies this, claiming the camps are vocational training centers aimed at creating jobs and stamping out Islamist extremism.”
Watson then went through his report detailing the alleged use of intrauterine devices (IUD) on women to prevent pregnancy, gang rape, and beatings. One woman said that she was accused of being influenced by American propaganda after living for five years in neighboring Kazakhstan. She said she endured “torture and rape.” She added in her account that her uterus had to be removed due to damage caused when guards, after a botched IUD procedure, shoved a “stun baton” inside her and shocked her until she passed out.
Another woman claimed she was forced to teach Mandarin Chinese to detainees in one camp and witnessed the mistreatment of other women. She noted that all of the women “had their hair shaved off” and wore numbered vests. She said that on her first day of work she witnessed a girl being carried out of the camp on a stretcher with “no spark of life on her face,” who allegedly died later from what a police officer said was “heavy bleeding.”
“CNN cannot independently verify the accounts of these women. China has attacked their credibility, calling these women actors, playing victims from Xinjiang,” Watson said.
He then noted that one woman said she hoped her decision to speak out on what she experienced would encourage others to do the same.
“Now, speaking out can create a terrible burden for people. I’ve interviewed dozens of natives of Xinjiang outside of the country and many of them have said that after they’ve gone public criticizing what’s happening in Xinjiang, their relatives who are still there face punishment from the Chinese authorities in the form of harassment, and even detention,” Watson continued. “The Chinese government denies that there is any punitive policy here and Beijing continues to insist that there are no human rights abuses at all in all of Xinjiang.”
“Oh, my God, Ivan. What a devastating story. Just these hideous crimes and watching these women have to suffer through it. And so important for us to know about this and hear it,” Camerota concluded.
The U.S. became the first country to formally recognize China’s treatment of the Uighurs as genocide in January. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo specifically cited unjustified imprisonment, forced labor, sterilization, and the torture of millions as genocidal actions carried out by the Chinese Communist Party.