A Chinese woman says that she was held for eight days at a secret Chinese detention facility in Dubai with at least two Uyghurs, The Associated Press reports.
The claim has not been verified but 26-year-old Wu Huan told the AP that she was abducted from a hotel in Dubai and detained by Chinese officials at a villa being used as a jail because her fiance was considered a Chinese dissident.
She said that she heard two other prisoners, who were both Uyghur Muslims.
Wu was interrogated and threatened in Chinese and forced to sign legal documents accusing her fiance of harassing her, she told the outlet.
She was ultimately released on June 8 and has applied for asylum in the Netherlands.
While there have been numerous investigations into secret camps and detention facilities in China where the Communist regime is holding Uyghurs, Wu’s is the first account to alleged that China has “black sites” outside of the country.
The AP reported that while it was not able to confirm the account, reporters obtained “corroborating evidence including stamps in her passport, a phone recording of a Chinese official asking her questions and text messages that she sent from jail to a pastor helping the couple.”
China, Dubai deny:
The Chinese Foreign Ministry denied the report.
“What I can tell you is that the situation the person talked about is not true,” spokesperson Hua Chunying told the AP.
Dubai officials said that the story was false and that Wu was allowed to leave freely three months ago.
“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 within its borders,” a government spokesperson told the AP. “Dubai also follows all recognized global norms and procedures set by international organizations like Interpol in the detainment, interrogation and transfer of fugitives sought by foreign governments.”
China has long used black sites:
Though this is the first claim of a Chinese black site in a different country, the AP reports that China has routinely used black sites within its own borders to detain prisoners who are not charged with a crime, particularly dissidents and government critics.
Yu-Jie Chen, an assistant professor at Taiwan’s Academia Sinica, told the outlet that she had not heard of a secret Chinese jail in Dubai, which would be “unusual,” but said China has increasingly focused on bringing citizens back to the country.
“(China) really wasn’t interested in reaching out until recent years,” she said. “This trend is increasingly robust.”
The AP report noted that Dubai, despite its majority Muslim population, has a history of interrogating Uyghurs and sending them back to China and has been involved in secret detentions involving other countries.
“There is no doubt that the UAE has detained people on behalf of foreign governments with whom they are allied,” Radha Stirling, the founder of the advocacy group Detained in Dubai, told the AP. “I don’t think they would at all shrug their shoulders to a request from such a powerful ally.”