A 26-year-old Chinese woman has claimed she was detained for eight days at a Chinese-led “secret detention facility” located in Dubai together with a minimum of two Uyghurs. For the first time, it appears that we have proof indicating that China is running a “black site” overseas.
AP reports that black sites are “clandestine jails” where prisoners are not typically charged with a criminal offense and “have no legal recourse, with no bail or court order.” In China, they are used to prevent petitioners who have complaints against their local government, and they are mostly situated in guesthouses or hotel rooms.
The detainee, Wu Huan, was reportedly “on the run” to evade deportation back to China because her 19-year old fiancé was regarded as a “Chinese dissident.” Wu Huan told AP that she was abducted whilst in a hotel in Dubai and later held by Chinese officials at a villa reconstructed into a prison, where she had seen or heard two Uyghur prisoners.
Wu Huan said she had been subjected to threats and questioning in Chinese and was pressurized into signing legal documents which “incriminate her fiancé for harassing her.” Huan was freed on the 8th of June and is currently looking for sanctuary in the Netherlands.
Although black sites are known to exist in China, Wu Huan’s story is, so far, the only form of evidence we have revealing that Beijing has created a site in a different country. The story sheds light on how China is attempting to use its global power to have its citizens returned from foreign countries or detained overseas.
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According to AP, there is additional proof beyond Wu Huan’s declarations. Reporters have found substantial proof, validating Huan’s testimony, including stamps in Huan’s passport, a recording on her phone of a Chinese Official questioning her as well as texts she had sent from the black site to a pastor who had provided assistance to her fiancé, Wang Jingyu, and herself.
However, unsurprisingly, China’s Foreign Ministry refutes her testimony and refuses to believe her. “What I can tell you is that the situation the person talked about is not true,” said Hua Chunying, who is a ministry spokesperson.
Dubai’s government media office also released a statement, suggesting that they too have denied her claim. The statement said:
“Dubai does not detain any foreign nationals without following internationally accepted procedures and local law enforcement processes, nor does it allow foreign governments to run any detention centers [sic] within its borders.”
What’s more, despite the growing oppression of the Uyghurs, China has also attempted to stifle alleged human rights activists and dissidents among the rest of the Chinese population. Wu and her fiancé are Han Chinese, which is the country’s majority ethnicity and Wang was perceived to be a dissident because he posted messages inquiring over how the Chinese media framed the 2019 protests in Hong Kong; and he voiced the same doubts about China’s response to the Indian border dispute.
The couple’s experience highlights the extent to which human rights are restrained within China, but also shows that the country does not hesitate to use covert measures to restrain them.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists or contributors are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: Uyghur protest. Featured Photo Credit: Kuzzat Altay