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Woman Claims She Was Held in Chinese 'Black Site' in Dubai

China, Dubai dispute her allegations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 16, 2021 5:10 PM CDT
Woman Claims She Was Held in Chinese 'Black Site' in Dubai
Wu Huan speaks during an interview in a safe house in the Ukraine on June 30. Wu claims that she was held for eight days at a Chinese-run “black site” in Dubai along with at least two Uighurs.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – A young Chinese woman says she was held for eight days at a Chinese-run secret detention facility in Dubai along with at least two Uighurs, in what may 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 fiancé was considered a Chinese dissident. Wu told the AP 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 fiancé for harassing her, she said. She was finally released on June 8 and is now seeking asylum in the Netherlands. While "black sites" are common in China, Wu’s account is the only testimony known to experts that Beijing has set one up in another country.

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Such a site would reflect how China is increasingly using its international clout to detain or bring back citizens it wants from overseas, whether they are dissidents, corruption suspects, or ethnic minorities like the Uighurs. The AP was unable to confirm or disprove Wu’s account independently, and she could not pinpoint the exact location of the black site. However, reporters have seen and heard 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's Foreign Ministry denied her story: "Not true," said a rep Monday. Dubai Police stated Monday that any claims of a Chinese woman detained by local authorities on behalf of a foreign country are false, and that Wu freely exited the country with her friend three months ago.

(Read more China stories.)

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