Manga Retelling Torture of Muslim Woman in China Goes Viral

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Artist Tomomi Shimizu's manga retelling the account of an incarcerated and tortured Uighur woman in China has spread around the world with translations in multiple languages. What Has Happened to Me (available here in English) is told from the perspective of 29-year-old wife and mother Mihrigul Tursun who was detained at the Ürümqi airport in China while attempting to visit her parents with her young triplets. Her children were separated from her, she was tortured, and one of her infants died in custody.

She was released back to her home in Qiemo County, an area of China that neighbors Tibet but authorities would summon her again.The woman stated that she was interrogated and beaten for three days. When she muttered "Allah," she claimed her attackers mocked her and she was moved into a cell under 24-hour surveillance with 50 other prisoners. That's when the brainwashing program started.

The woman and her fellow prisoners were led to pray to the leader of the communist party, Xi Jinping, and sing songs praising communism. She said she was forced to ingest pills and receive injections. She'd later discover that the drugs left her infertile. After her release and yet another detainment, Tursun was able to get the Egyptian government involved on behalf of her children, who hold dual citizenship. She took her children to Egypt to discover that 26 of her relatives were arrested and would not be released unless she returned to China within two months. She asked the authorities why she had to suffer.

"Because you are Uygher."

The Uygher are a minority ethnic group and are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. China is home to 55 other ethnic minorities, including the Uygher. The majority of Uygher people are Muslim.

She and her children didn't find peace in Egypt. The Uygher minority were deported from the country, and so she looked to the United States for help. She and her children were able to enter the U.S., however her husband who had returned to China to locate her was arrested by authorities and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Tursun has testified to the U.S. government about the atrocities taking place in China.

Shimizu's manga of Tursun's experience has been viewed 2.5 million times and shared over 85,000 times. The manga is Shimizu's second focusing on the plight of the Uygher people. The artist became aware of the issue after speaking with Japan's own small Uygher community and released "No one says the country's name" in April. Shimizu told Kyodo News, "Despite (China) being a neighbouring country, it is full of things that are unknown. Telling people about them through manga is my mission.”

Documents leaked within the Communist Party this week support Tursun's account of treatment towards the Uygher people. The Chinese government is suspected of holding over one million Uygher Muslims without trial. The documents also detail detainment camps designed for brainwashing as opposed to education and skills centers as originally described by the Chinese government.

Source: The Guardian (Justin McCurry)

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