A young Chinese woman said she was detained for eight days with at least two Uighurs in a secret Chinese-run detention facility in Dubai. This may be the first evidence that China operates so-called “black sites” across national borders. ..
A 26-year-old woman, Wu Huang, fled to avoid handing over to China because her fiancé was considered a Chinese dissident. Wu told The Associated Press that he had been kidnapped from a hotel in Dubai and detained by Chinese authorities in a villa converted into a prison, where he saw and heard two other Uighur prisoners.
She said she was questioned and threatened in Chinese and forced to sign legal documents accusing her fiancée of harassing her. She was finally released on June 8 and is currently seeking asylum in the Netherlands.
“Black sites” are common in China, but Wu’s account is the only testimony known to experts that Beijing has set up in another country. Such sites reflect how China can use its international influence to detain or bring back desired citizens from abroad, including dissidents, suspected corruption, and ethnic minorities such as Uighurs. ..
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The AP was unable to individually verify or disprove Wu’s account and to determine the exact location of the black site. However, the reporter saw and heard supporting evidence, including a stamp on her passport, a telephone recording of a Chinese official asking her question and text message she sent from prison to a minister helping the couple.
China’s Foreign Ministry denied her story. “What I can tell you is that the situation he was talking about is not true,” Hua Chunying, a ministry spokesman, said on Monday. The Chinese Consulate in Dubai did not respond to some requests for comment.
Dubai also did not respond to multiple phone calls or requests for comment to the Dubai Police Force, the Dubai Media Office, or the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Black sites are secret prisons, prisoners are generally not charged with crime, have no bail or court orders, and have no legal means. Much of China is used to thwart petitioners with dissatisfaction with local governments and often takes the form of hotel or guesthouse rooms.
Yu-Jie Chen, an assistant professor at the Academia Sinica in Taiwan, said he had never heard of China’s secret prison in Dubai and said such facilities in other countries were rare. But she also did everything she could to bring back selected citizens, both through formal means such as signing extradition treaties and informal means such as revoking visas and putting pressure on families. He said it was consistent with China’s attempt to do so.
“[China]wasn’t really interested in reaching out until recent years,” said Chen, who is tracking China’s international legal action. “This trend is getting stronger and stronger.”
Chen said that Uighurs in particular have been handed over or returned to China. China has detained most Muslim minorities on suspicion of terrorism, even in relatively harmless acts such as prayer. The Uighur Human Rights Project tracked 89 Uighurs detained or deported from nine countries between 1997 and 2007 through public reports. The group found that the number increased steadily, reaching 1,327 from 20 countries from 2014 to the present.
Wu and her fiancé, 19-year-old Wang Jing-gyu, are not Uighurs, but the Han Chinese, the majority of China. Wang has been sought after by China for posting a media report on China’s protests in Hong Kong in 2019 and a message asking about China’s actions at the border with India.
China, along with Uighurs, has launched a major effort to crack down on recognized opposition and human rights activists and regain suspects as part of a national anti-corruption campaign. Under the China of the most authoritarian leaders Xi Jinping president in decades, Beijing, on suspicion of corruption and financial crime under the Skynet strategy, we recall the 1,421 people in only 2020. However, AP has not been able to provide a comprehensive picture of the total number of Chinese detained or deported from abroad in recent years.
Dubai has a history as a place where Uighurs were cross-examined and deported to China. And activists say Dubai itself is associated with a secret cross-examination involving other countries. Radha Stirling, the legal advocate who founded the advocacy group Detained in Dubai, said he worked with about 12 people, including citizens of Canada, India and Jordan, but not China, who reported detention at UAE villas. rice field.
“There is no doubt that the UAE has detained people on behalf of the foreign governments they are allied with,” Sterling said. “I don’t think I’ll shrug at the request of such a strong ally.”
However, Patrick Celos, now a former US ambassador to Qatar and now a strategic adviser to the Gulf International Forum, called the claim “totally out of character” by Emiratis.
“They do not allow the freedom of movement of their allies,” he said. “The idea that the Chinese have a secret center, it doesn’t make sense.”
The US State Department did not comment on Wu’s particular case or whether Dubai has a Chinese-operated black site.
“We will continue to coordinate with our allies and partners to counter cross-border crackdowns everywhere,” he said in a statement to AP.
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