China’s controversial Xinjiang region is physically locking residents inside their homes and forcing them to drink traditional Chinese medicine, according to The Associated Press.
Xinjiang, an autonomous region known for its extensive surveillance of residents and re-education camps where untold numbers of Uighur Muslims have been imprisoned, has forced residents into their homes and has forced some to swallow medicine that doctors say has not been shown as effective against the coronavirus.
The medicine, called Qingfei Paidu, includes ingredients that have been banned in countries like the US due to their high levels of toxins and carcinogens.
The region has been in a 45-day lockdown after reporting 826 cases since mid-July, the largest outbreak in China since it got its initial outbreak under control.
Xinjiang lockdown unlike others:
Though China imposed a strict lockdown in Wuhan after reporting more than 50,000 cases earlier this year, other Chinese lockdowns have not been nearly as severe as the one in Xinjiang.
The country required a few affected neighborhoods to be locked down for several weeks after more than 300 cases were reported in Beijing in July but more than half of Xinjiang’s 25 million residents have been on lockdown for a month and a half despite many living hundreds of miles from the center of the outbreak.
Many forced to swallow unmarked medicine:
Many of those affected by the lockdown and draconian measures have been the Uighurs, about a million of whom have been detained in recent years.
One Uighur woman told the AP that workers have forced unmarked medicine bottles on residents with the threat of imprisonment if they do not drink them.
The woman said the medicine made her feel weak and nauseous. She said people detained amid the outbreak were stripped naked and covered in disinfectant that was “scalding.”
“My hands were ruined, my skin was peeling,” she said.
Some of the measures have been imposed against Han residents as well, though they are rarely detained.
“Why are you forcing us to drink medicine when we’re not sick!” one Han woman wrote in a since-deleted social media post. “Who will take responsibility if there’s problems after drinking so much medicine? Why don’t we even have the right to protect our own health?”
“None of these medicines have been scientifically proven to be effective and safe,” Fang Shimin, a former biochemist who investigated scientific fraud in China, told the AP. “It’s unethical to force people, sick or healthy, to take unproven medicines.”