News & Politics

HORROR: China Has a Secret 'Black Site' Prison in Dubai

HORROR: China Has a Secret 'Black Site' Prison in Dubai
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A Chinese woman claims she was detained at a so-called “black site” in Dubai where she was questioned by Chinese authorities and forced to sign a “confession.” She also said that there were at least two Uighurs being held at the site as well.

Both the black site in Dubai and holding Uighurs outside of China are unprecedented and a worrying escalation of China’s war on dissent and religious freedom.

Wu Huan, a 26-year-old Chinese national, was trying to block extradition back to China because her fiancee is a Chinese dissident. She says she was abducted from a hotel in Dubai and detained by Chinese officials at a villa converted into a jail where she encountered two other prisoners who were Uighurs.

Wu says the officials questioned her for days, finally forcing her to sign documents charging her finance with harassment. She was released in June and is seeking asylum in the Netherlands.

The existence of one site is concerning, but experts worry that it may show that China is increasingly using its international clout to detain or bring back citizens it wants from overseas.

The Chinese foreign ministry is denying Wu’s story and the Dubai police are adamant in denying her claims.

“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,” said a statement from the Dubai government media office.

Associated Press:

Yu-Jie Chen, an assistant professor at Taiwan’s 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 noted 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. “This trend is increasingly robust.”

Chen said Uyghurs 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. The Uyghur Human Rights Project tracked 89 Uyghurs detained or deported from nine countries from 1997 to 2007 through public reports. That number steadily increased to reach 1,327 from 20 countries from 2014 until now, the group found.

Radha Stirling, a legal advocate, told the AP, “There is no doubt that the UAE has detained people on behalf of foreign governments with whom they are allied. I don’t think they would at all shrug their shoulders to a request from such a powerful ally.”

U.S. intelligence agencies have operated black sites all over the world. But the prisoners sent to those sites were almost exclusively charged with terrorism-related crimes. There are some reports of torture being conducted by non-U.S. government personnel but the program is still shrouded in secrecy.