“I Was a Teacher in a Concentration Camp”: Women and the Uyghur Genocide


By Zubayra Shamseden
March 13, 2021

Four years ago this week, as people around the world celebrated International Women’s Day, Ms. Qelbinur Sidik was assigned by Xinjiang authorities to work in a concentration camp. She had 28 years of teaching experience at the No. 24 Elementary School of Urumchi in East Turkistan. Chinese government officials told her she would be teaching Chinese language classes at a transformation through education camp for illiterate Uyghurs.

I interviewed Qelbinur for the Uyghur Human Rights Project in 2020, after she had reached safety in the Netherlands. It was a traumatic interview, reflecting the unutterable horrors she witnessed.

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