《TAIPEI TIMES》 Detainee says China operates secret prison in Dubai
A young Chinese woman has said she was held for eight days at a Chinese-run secret detention facility in Dubai along with at least two Uighurs, in what might be the first evidence that China is operating a so-called “black site” beyond its borders.
The woman, 26-year-old Wu Huan, was on the run to avoid extradition back to China because her fiance was considered a Chinese dissident.
Wu told The Associated Press （AP） that she was abducted from a hotel in Dubai and detained by Chinese officials at a villa converted into a jail, where she saw or heard two other prisoners, both Uighurs.
She was questioned and threatened in Chinese and forced to sign legal documents incriminating her fiance for harassing her, she said.
She was released on June 8 and is now seeking asylum in the Netherlands.
Chen Yu-jie （陳玉潔）, an assistant professor at Academia Sinica, said she had not heard of a Chinese secret jail in Dubai, and such a facility in another country would be unusual.
However, she also said that it would be in keeping with China’s attempts to do all it can to bring select citizens back, both through official means such as signing extradition treaties and unofficial means such as revoking visas or putting pressure on family back home.
“[China] really wasn’t interested in reaching out until recent years,” said Chen, who has tracked China’s international legal actions.
Chen said Uighurs in particular were being extradited or returned to China, which has been detaining the mostly Muslim minority on suspicion of terrorism even for relatively harmless acts like praying.
Wu said that on May 27, she was questioned by Chinese officials at her hotel and then taken by Dubai police to a police station for three days.
On the third day, a Chinese man who introduced himself as Li Xuhang （李旭航） came to visit her, she said.
He told her that he was working for the Chinese consulate in Dubai and asked her whether she had taken money from foreign groups to act against China.
Li is listed as consul-general on the Web site of the Chinese consulate in Dubai. The consulate did not return multiple calls asking for comment and to speak with Li directly.
Wu said she was handcuffed and put in a black Toyota. After half an hour, she was brought inside a white villa with three stories, where rooms had been converted into individual cells, she said.
Wu was taken to her own cell, with a heavy metal door, a bed, a chair and a white fluorescent light that was on all day and night. She said she was questioned and threatened several times in Chinese.
She once saw another prisoner, a Uighur woman, while waiting to use the bathroom, she said.
A second time, she heard a Uighur woman shouting in Chinese: “I don’t want to go back to China, I want to go back to Turkey.”
Wu said she identified the women as Uighurs based on their distinctive appearance and accent.
The guards also gave her a phone and a SIM card and instructed her to call her fiance and pastor Bob Fu （傅希秋）, the head of ChinaAid, a Christian non-profit, who was helping the couple.
Wang confirmed to the AP that Wu called and asked him for his location.
Fu said he received at least four or five calls from her during this time, a few on an unknown Dubai phone number, including one where she was crying and almost incoherent.
The AP also reviewed text messages Wu sent to Fu at the time, which are disjointed and erratic.
The last thing Wu’s captors demanded of her, she said, was to sign documents testifying that Wang was harassing her.
“I was really scared and was forced to sign the documents,” she told the AP.