Manga has been one of the popular forms of media today. Aside from telling fictional stories, it is also one way of sharing various situations that are experienced in real life like poverty, pain, depression, and so it. It is one of the most effective mediums to get a message across, especially to the youth.
Recently, a certain manga has gone viral online due to its accurate retelling of the torture of a Muslim Uighur woman in China. The name of the manga is What Has Happened to Me, created by artist Tomomi Shimizu. The said manga is already translated into different language. You can read it as well in English.
The manga has been viewed more than 2.5 million times, with more than 85,000 shared. This is the second time Shimizu made a manga that is focused on the Uygher people. The idea of producing this kind of manga and being aware of the issued started when she spoke with a small Uygher community in Japan. Her first work was titled No one says the country’s name and was released last April.
"Despite (China) being a neighboring country, it is full of things that are unknown. Telling people about them through manga is my mission.” She said in a statement in Kyodo News.
Just to give you an idea of what the manga is about, it centered on the perspective of a 29-year-old Mihrigul Tursun, a mother of triplets. She was detained at the Ürümqi airport when she wanted to visit her parents along with her kids. The authorities separated both the children and the mother. Mihrigul was tortured. One of the baby triplets died in custody.
She was then released and returned to her home in Qiempo Country, a place which is between China and neighboring Tibet. When everything seems to be peaceful for her, it was not long until the authorities got to her again. In the manga, it was revealed that she was interrogated and beaten so much for three days straight. Her attackers start to mock her continuously, moved into a cell under 24 hours surveillance, and went into the brainwashing program—all because she just mentioned the word “Allah.”
The girl, along with some prisoners were told to pray and follow the leader of the Chinese communist party, Xi Jinping, as well as singing communist songs. She then was later given injections and pills, which have left her infertile.
With the help of the Egyptian government, she went to Egypt only to find out that 26 of her relatives were arrested and will not be given freedom until she returned to China in two months. When she asked the authorities why that she had to deal with this kind of torture, the reply that she got was “Because you are Uygher.”
Both she and her children did not find peace and freedom in Egypt. They were deported from the country and sought help from the United States. While she and her children were able to enter the country without problems, her husband who returned to China to find her was arrested and send to 16 years in prison. She was one of the primary witnesses to testify what the monstrous things that are happening in China.
This is such a sad manga to read. It makes you angry. It makes you wonder why people have to go through this kind of suffering. They don’t deserve this at all.
Just to give you guys a little background, the Uygher is one of the minority ethnic groups that are native to the Xinjiang Uryghur Autonomous Region in China. The majority of the Uygher people are Muslim.
Recently, Community Party documents were leaked and supported the testimonies of what happened to the Uygher people. It was revealed that more than one million Uygher Muslims were arrested and were detained without trial. The documents also revealed that the detainment camps were actually created for brainwashing and were disguised as skill and education centers.
This is a very hard pill to swallow, but this is just one of the many realities that some people are facing. We weren’t able to know more detailed about this if it weren’t for manga artists like Shimizu as well as the unbiased and unfiltered media.
Although some feel that these kinds of things shouldn’t be produced, it doesn’t hide the fact that this is one of the most effective ways in media to be able to get your word across. If no one will ever voice these kinds of realities, then who will?
As long as the manga created is a way of self-awareness and not a means of ridicule or manipulate the truth, it is sure to be one of the most powerful media to show the world the truth and motivate people to do their part for the greater good.
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