A Million People Are Jailed at China's Gulags. I Managed to Escape. Here's What Really Goes on Inside

Rape, torture and human experiments. Sayragul Sauytbay offers firsthand testimony from a Xinjiang 'reeducation' camp

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Sayragul Sauytbay.
Sayragul Sauytbay. Credit: Ellinor Collin
David Stavrou
David Stavrou
Stockholm
Inmates at a Chinese reeducation camp.

The document said 'that if I did not fulfill my task, or if I did not obey the rules, I would get the death penalty. It was forbidden to speak with the prisoners, to laugh, to cry.'

Photo of a facility believed to be a Chinese reeducation camp in Xinjiang.
Photo of a facility believed to be a Chinese reeducation camp in Xinjiang. Credit: GREG BAKER / AFP
Sayragul Sauytbay.
Sayragul Sauytbay.Credit: Ellinor Collin

'Meat was served on Fridays, but it was pork. The inmates were compelled to eat it, even if they were religiously observant and did not eat pork. Refusal brought punishment.'


The area where the Dabancheng 'reeducation' camp was to be built, in China's Xinjiang region, 2015.
The area where the Dabancheng 'reeducation' camp was to be built, in China's Xinjiang region, 2015.Credit: ESA/Google Maps
The Dabancheng camp after it was built, in 2018.
The Dabancheng camp after it was built, in 2018.Credit: ESA/Google Maps
Sayragul Sauytbay with her husband.
Sayragul Sauytbay with her husband.Credit: Ellinor Collin

Medical procedures were carried out on inmates with no justification. But when inmates were really sick, they didn’t get the care they needed.

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