As many visiting this page know, since late 2016 the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang have pursued an aggressive initiative to “stabilize” and “re-educate” the region, creating a police state and sending over a million ethnic minorities (Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Hui, Uzbeks, Tatars, and others) to various forms of detention and “education” – ranging from house arrest to detention houses to concentration camps to prisons.
In Kazakhstan, there are currently dozens – if not hundreds – of ex-detainees who have come out of this system and have successfully returned to Kazakhstan following the efforts of rights groups, media, activists, and Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, many of them have reported developing health issues – physical and psychological – following the trauma incurred during detention. Some have reported being tortured, suffering physical abuse, developing issues because of poor hygiene practices, and taking questionable medicines. Upon returning to Kazakhstan, many are struggling to cope with the post-trauma and have had to make hospital visits.
Seeing as how many of these victims are not from affluent families and do not have the resources to just go to a major city in Kazakhstan and get high-quality analysis and treatment, I have joined with local activists and rights groups representatives to raise the funds for them to come to Almaty, Kazakhstan and to get a proper health examination done at a high-quality clinic.
To begin, we are aiming to arrange this for 10 victims – all who have reported having problems in the past and are now willing to undergo a thorough examination (we have called them and confirmed). Their problems will inevitably vary, with some more serious and some less, but first it is fundamental that we get them all checked to confirm that there is nothing seriously wrong physically, and especially nothing systematically wrong that would result from being in detention. The goal is primarily humanitarian – we need to help these people – but there is also value in that we may learn more about the Xinjiang detention system (if the victims were subjected to acts intentionally aimed at destroying their health, these medical examinations may help prove or disprove that). The more difficult road of psychotherapy will also follow, but later, and is outside the scope of this fundraiser.
For reasons of privacy, I cannot disclose the names of these 10 people, but will say that many of them you’ve probably read about in the news, and that many of them have done us all a great service by openly talking about their experiences and allowing us to better understand just what exactly is happening in Xinjiang’s incarceration system.
At the moment, we are looking at an estimate of 600 US dollars per person – for some it will be more, for some less. This includes their transportation fees to get to Almaty (some people live as far as 12 hours away), their room and board while here, the actual medical examinations, and the medicines prescribed thereafter. As such, the overall goal we are setting is 6000. Anything we raise over that or do not spend I will happily return upon request, in accordance with the donated proportions. Time is of the essence, and I hope to have the money raised within a week, if not within a few days!
Thank you in advance for your aid.
Gene A. Bunin
P.S.: I am putting myself forth as the beneficiary of this fundraiser. I.e., the money raised will be transferred to my bank account and will then be redirected to covering the victims’ costs as needed.