Detainees hold Uighurs, saying China has a secret prison in Dubai


A young Chinese woman may be the first evidence that China operates a “black site” across borders, a secret detention run by a Chinese in Dubai with at least two Uighurs. He is said to have been detained in the facility for eight days.

Wuhuan, 26, was on the run to avoid being handed over to China because his fiancé was considered a Chinese dissident. Wu told The Associated Press that he had been kidnapped from a hotel in Dubai, detained in a villa by Chinese authorities, and converted to prison, where he saw and heard two other Uighur prisoners.

She said she was questioned and threatened in Chinese and was forced to sign a legal document 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 the testimony that experts know is the only testimony that Beijing has set up in another country. Such sites have international influence to detain or bring back citizens who have left the country, whether China is a dissident, a suspected corruption, or an ethnic minority like the Uighurs. It reflects the method you are using more and more.

The AP was unable to 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, and a text message she sent from prison to a minister who was helping the couple.

Hua Chunying, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said, “I can say that the situation he was talking about is not true.” Dubai did not respond to multiple phone calls or comment requests.

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 does as much as possible to regain selected citizens through both formal means, such as signing extradition treaties, and informal means, such as revoking visas and putting pressure on families returning home. He said it was consistent with China’s attempt to do that. ..

“”[China] “I wasn’t really interested in contacting until recent years,” said Chen, who has been tracking China’s international legal action.

Mr. Chen said Uighurs in particular have been handed over or returned to China, which is detaining most Muslim minorities, on suspicion of terrorism or even relatively harmless acts such as prayer. rice field. Wu and her fiancé, 19-year-old Wang Jingu, are not Uighurs. They are the Han Chinese, the main ethnic group in China.

Wuhuan (R) and King Jingyu
On June 30, 2021, Wu Huang (R) and Wang Jingu are standing together in a safe house in Ukraine. (AP photo)

Dubai has a history of being the place where Uighurs were cross-examined and deported to China. Activists say Dubai itself is associated with secret cross-examination. Radha Stirling, the legal advocate who founded the advocacy group Detained in Dubai, said he worked with about 12 people who reported detention in UAE villas, including citizens of Canada, India and Jordan, but not China. ..

“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.

On May 27, Mr. Wu said he had been taken to the police station by the Dubai police for three days after being questioned by Chinese authorities at the hotel. On the third day, a Chinese man who introduced himself to Lee Xu Han visited. He told her that he was working at the Chinese Consulate in Dubai and asked her if she had received money from a foreign group to act against China.

Li Xuhang is listed as Consul General on the website of the Chinese Consulate in Dubai. The consulate did not return multiple calls to solicit comments or talk directly to Mr Lee.

Wu said he was handcuffed and put in a black Toyota. Thirty minutes by car, she said she was taken to a three-story white villa whose room was converted into a separate cell.

Wu was taken to his cell with heavy metal doors, beds, chairs, and white fluorescent lights that were never turned off. She said she was threatened by being asked several times in Chinese.

She said she once met another prisoner, a Uighur woman, while waiting to use the bathroom. The second time I heard a Uighur woman shout in Chinese, “I don’t want to go back to China, I want to go back to Turkey.” Wu said she identified women as Uighurs based on their unique appearance and accent.

The guard gave her a phone and SIM card and instructed her to call Rev. Bobhu, her fiancé and head of China Aid, a Christian non-profit organization that helped the couple. did.

The king confirmed to AP that Wu called and asked for his whereabouts. Mr. Fu said she had received four or five calls during this time, but several times from unknown phone numbers in Dubai, including a phone number that was crying and almost inconsistent. .. AP also confirmed the disjointed and unstable text message that Wu sent to Fu at the time.

She said the last thing Wu’s POWs requested of her was to sign a document testifying that Wang was harassing her.

“I was really scared and forced to sign the document,” she told AP.

After Wu was released, she flew to Ukraine, where she reunited with the king. The couple fled to the Netherlands after threats from Chinese police saying the king could face a surrender from Ukraine. Wu said he missed his hometown.

“We found that the people who were fooling us were Chinese and that our compatriots were hurting our compatriots,” she said.

Staff reporters Nomaan Merchant and Matt Lee contributed to this report from Washington, DC.

Associated Press