A woman fleeing persecution claims Beijing held her at a secret detention center in the United Arab Emirates.
Wu Huan claims the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) detained her on May 27 for eight days in Dubai.
The 26-year-old asylum seeker accused CCP agents of abducting her from a Dubai hotel after she tried to avoid being extradited to mainland China. They allegedly transported her to a residential property that was converted into a detention facility. Chinese Embassy workers allegedly operate the villa-turned-jail, which also held at least two Uighur native people.
Wu revealed she did not want to return to China, because the CCP considers her 19-year-old fiancé to be a dissident. She claimed facility workers interrogated, threatened and forced her to sign incriminating documents against Wang Jingyu. She was finally released on June 8, and is already seeking asylum in the Netherlands.
If the allegations are confirmed it would prove the CCP operates covert detention facilities beyond Chinese borders. However, China’s Foreign Ministry rejected any suggestion this might be the case.
Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying claimed the “situation” Wu described is “not true,” according to the Associated Press.
The newswire agency previously reported Wu and Wang have avoided Chinese authorities since July 2019. Wang’s only crime was openly supporting mass pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, on a Chinese social networking website. The teenager’s parents had sent him abroad to avoid trouble with the law, according to the Associated Press.
However, the social media posts continued in February when Wang questioned the CCP’s deadly border clashes with Indian forces. The Chinese regime quickly called for his capture, and detained both of his parents in Chongqing municipality.
Wang was released in May, just hours after mainstream media enquired about the circumstances of his detention. He later fled to Turkey and then Ukraine.
Wu went to Dubai in April shortly after her fiancé was arrested. She hired a lawyer, gave media interviews, and kept exposing the CCP on social networks. She was finally abducted outside the hotel she stayed at.
After Wu was released, she flew to Ukraine, where she was reunited with Wang. The couple fled to the Netherlands after receiving threats from the CCP.
“I have discovered that the people deceiving us are Chinese that it is our countrymen hurting our own countrymen,” Wu said according to the newswire agency.
Council on Foreign Relations deputy research fellow Jerome Cohen believes formal extradition requests are not the only tool the CCP uses to influence expatriates.
“This is a blatant effort to extend Chinese power abroad,” he said according to the Associated Press. “There is certainly increasing long-arm attempts by China by one means or another–informal deportation, extradition … [and] coercion against their families in China–using every technique in the book, legal and illegal.”
In mainland China the number of illegal detention centers continues to grow. Australian researchers found in 2020 the CCP had built hundreds of clandestine detention centers across China’s Xinjiang region.
The regime admits those facilities exist but prefers to call them “education and vocational training centers” instead. The CCP claims participants are voluntarily reformed and indoctrinated until they are no longer considered to be so-called threat to the party.