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‘Always on and watching’: A former Xinjiang prisoner describes life inside China’s detention camps


For 10 months in 2018, Ovalbek Turdakun was a prisoner in one of China’s notorious detention camps, where he was tortured, subject to horrific conditions, and under constant surveillance.
In a makeshift courtroom inside the detention camp he was being held, Turdakun was not permitted to speak and was made to sign papers he was given no time to read. As a former law student, he knew that the court was not following a proper legal process, but was nevertheless told that the court’s decision would lead to “great things” for him, that he would study and live for free.
Turdakun is a Chinese passport holder and an ethnic Kyrgyz, one of several …

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