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Belgium this week dispatched a diplomat to the Xinjiang province of China to search for a Uighur woman named Horiyat Abula and her four children, who Chinese police disappeared from the Belgian embassy in Beijing last month.
The clear inference is that Belgium fears the refugees have been dragged back to the infamous re-education camps where a huge number of Xinjiang’s Muslim residents are incarcerated.
Woman - Husband - Abdulhamid - Tursun - Refugee
The woman’s husband Abdulhamid Tursun is a political refugee in Belgium. He sought asylum in 2017 while on a business trip to Turkey because his family warned he might be arrested upon returning to Xinjiang and sent to the camps. He was granted asylum in 2018 and found employment with a Belgian company.
He told AFP in an interview published on Wednesday that he has not heard from his wife since May 31.
Safety - Side - Family - Tursun
“I am worried about their safety. I hope they can safely come be at my side as soon as possible, and our family can reunite,” said Tursun.
Tursun explained that his wife and the children were in Beijing to obtain family reunification visas when the Chinese police began harassing them. Upon learning the visas would take at least three months to approve, Abula panicked and refused to leave the Belgian embassy.
Matter - Debate - Shame - Government - Embassy
What happened next is a matter of some debate, and potentially lasting shame for the Belgian government. The embassy says it asked Abula to leave because it could not shelter her indefinitely. The police were called after she refused repeated requests and wound up refusing to budge from the embassy yard, at which point the embassy accused her of staging a political “sit-in.”
Critics say it was outrageous for the Belgians to force Abula to make multiple trips to Beijing with her children, the youngest of whom...
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