Gang rape, torture and the dreaded red X
The following is an excerpt from the book “The Chief Witness” written by Sayragul Sauytbay as provided in the Daily Mail Article on 22 May 2021, by Stephen Gibbs.
During ‘class’, I noticed a number of prisoners groaning and scratching themselves until they bled. I couldn’t tell if they were genuinely ill or had gone mad. As my mouth opened and closed – I was barely even listening to myself talk about our self-sacrificing patriarch Xi Jinping, who ‘passes on the warmth of love with his hands’ – several of the ‘students’ collapsed unconscious and fell off their plastic chairs.
In threatening situations, human beings have a kind of switch in our brains that functions like a fuse in an electrical circuit. As soon as the level of anguish we’re experiencing exceeds the capacity of our senses, we simply switch off: to stop us going out of our minds with fear, we lose consciousness in extremis.
When this happened, the guards would summon their colleagues outside, who rushed in, grabbed the unconscious person by both arms, and dragged them away like a doll, their feet trailing across the floor. But they didn’t just take the unconscious, the sick, and the mad. Suddenly, the door would spring open, and heavily armed men would thunder into the room. For no reason at all. Sometimes it was simply because a prisoner hadn’t understood one of the guard’s orders, issued in Chinese.
These people were among the unluckiest in the camp. I could see in their eyes how they felt – that raging storm of pain and suffering. Hearing their screams and cries for help in the corridors afterwards made our blood freeze in our veins, and brought us to the verge of panic. They were drawn-out, constant, virtually unbearable. There was no more sorrowful sound.
I saw with my own eyes the various instruments of torture in the ‘black room’. The chains on the wall. Many inmates, bound at the wrists and ankles, they strapped into chairs that had nails sticking out of the seats. Many of the people they tortured never came back out of that room – others stumbled out, covered in blood.
The space, roughly twenty metres square, looked a bit like a darkroom. A messy black strip about thirty centimetres wide had been painted on the wall just above the floor, as though someone had smeared it with mud. In the middle was a table three or four metres long, crammed with all kinds of tools and torture devices. Tasers and police cudgels in various shapes and sizes: thick, thin, long, and short. Iron rods used to fix the hands and feet in agonising positions behind a person’s back, designed to inflict the maximum possible pain.
The walls, too, were hung with weapons and implements that looked like they were from the Middle Ages. Implements used to pull out fingernails and toenails, and a long stick – a bit like a spear – that had been sharpened like a dagger at one end. They used it for jabbing into a person’s flesh.
Along one side of the room was a row of chairs designed for different purposes. Electric chairs and metal chairs with bars and straps to stop the victim moving; iron chairs with holes in the back so that the arms could be twisted back above the shoulder joint. My gaze wandered across the walls and floor. Rough cement. Grey and dirty, revolting and confusing – as though evil itself was squatting in that room, feeding on our pain. I was certain I would die before dawn.