DFAT “formally” requests Beijing let family of Australian Uyghur man leave China
The Australian Embassy in Beijing has “formally requested” the Chinese Government allow the wife and son of Uyghur Australian man Sadam Abudusalamu to leave China so they can be reunited in Australia, Foreign Minister Marise Payne has said.
The request follows Mr Abudusalamu’s appearance on the ABC’s Four Corners programme earlier this week, through which he spoke out against the persecution of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s supposedly autonomous Xinjiang region.
According to the ABC, his wife Nadila Wumaier, who has been prevented from leaving Xinjiang, was detained and questioned by Chinese authorities on Tuesday (local time) about her husband’s remarks, but has since been released.
While their son, Lutfy, is an Australian citizen, Ms Wumaier is not and thereby Canberra is limited in the kind of assistance it can offer her.
However, Senator Payne reaffirmed that the “Department [of Foreign Affairs and Trade] continues to provide assistance to the family.”
Noting that Australia does “not have an entitlement to consular access” to Mr Abudusalamu’s wife, Ms Payne said: “The Embassy in Beijing have formally requested that the Chinese authorities allow Ms Wumaier and her son [who is an Australian citizen] to travel to Australia.”
Mr Abudusalamu has said he appreciates the Foreign Minister’s action, but that “as a father and a husband … I still need more”.
“I’m not going to stop until I see my son, until I see my wife,” he said, as cited by the ABC.
Speaking to the public broadcaster, Mr Abudusalamu spoke of the pressure placed on his wife following the Four Corners episode aired on Monday night.
“She went to the police station and the Chinese Government already told her to tell me to keep my mouth shut, not saying anything else, or maybe her life [would be] in danger,” he said.
“And then they asked for all my personal identification, my passport number, where I live, what I do for work.
“It makes me really scared, like I feel like I’m not going to be safe in Australia.”
Beijing has effectively turned Xinjiang into a police state, defending the relentless persecution of Muslim minorities as anti-terrorism measures.
Uyghurs are forced into internment camps that have been likened to concentration camps.
According to Beijing, Uyghurs enter the camps of their own free will — but survivors tell a different story of kidnapping, torture and brainwashing.
The UN “estimates that upwards of a million [Uyghurs are] being held in so-called counter-extremism centres and another two million [have] been forced into so-called ‘re-education camps’ for political and cultural indoctrination.”
Despite the international concern, China appears unbothered.
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