A rare video of a Uighur Muslim handcuffed to his bed at an internment camp in China has surfaced on social media. In the video, model Merdan Ghappar is seen wearing dirty clothes, and is confined to a small room with steel mesh on the windows. The bed that Ghappar is sitting on is the only piece of furniture in the room.
The video sent by Ghappar was reportedly shot at an “epidemic control centre” where he was confined after he caught a cold. The family has not heard from Ghappar since the messages stopped five months ago, BBC reported.
Ghappar was a successful model who lived in Foshan city of China but was arrested in August 2018 and sentenced to 16 months in prison on charges of selling cannabis, the BBC report added. His friends have alleged that the charge was false. After being released in November 2019, Ghappar was told by the police that he had to return to Xinjiang province, the home of Uighur Muslims, for a “routine registration procedure”.
The authorities reportedly said that Ghappar “may need to do a few days of education at his local community” – implying that he would be sent to one of the camps where Uighur Muslims are kept.
It is unknown how Ghappar managed to get hold of a mobile phone while being subjected to intense scrutiny by authorities. He used the phone to send gory details of the atrocities meted out to Uighur Muslims in the camps via the Chinese app WeChat, until the communication abruptly stopped one day.
At the epidemic control centre where the video was shot, an announcement is heard on a loudspeaker in the background. It said, “Xinjiang has never been an ‘East Turkistan’. Separatist forces at home and abroad have politicised this geographical term and called for those who speak Turkic languages and believe in Islam to unite.”