The Chinese government in the northwest region of Xinjiang is forcing residents to drink traditional Chinese "medicine," locking them in their homes for more than 40 days, and spraying them with disinfectant in an effort to quell the spread of COVID-19.
According to testimony from an arrested middle-aged Uighur woman who has since been released and locked in her home, community workers bring her a bottle of murky fluid that she is required to swallow once a day. If she refuses to drink the government's medical concoction, she will be detained.
While crammed into a small room with other woman in a detention center, they had to strip naked once a day as guards sprayed their bodies with disinfectant "like firemen," she recalled.
"It was scalding," she said. "My hands were ruined, my skin was peeling."
Medical experts have reported that there is a lack of clinical data that shows the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine on coronavirus. One of the herbal remedies used in the medical cocktail includes ingredients that have been banned in Germany, Switzerland, and the U.S. for its high level of toxins.
While Xinjiang authorities say their measures are for the well-being of their citizens, they have not explained why they are so extreme when compared to other Chinese regions.
One Chinese woman posted photos of herself drinking the traditional Chinese medicine in front of a medical worker wearing full protective equipment.
"Why are you forcing us to drink medicine when we're not sick!" she asked in an August post that was quickly deleted. "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?"
A few days later she admitted defeat.
"I've lost all hope. I cry when I think about it," she said.