Australia Uyghurs despair over ‘missing’ relatives in China Uyghur news

Melbourne, Australia – Yusuf Hussein is an Uighur Australian living in the small town of Adelaide.

She and her five children talked to the elderly parents every week, but since 2017 she has not been able to contact them anymore.

“Suddenly, [they] “None of them answered my phone,” Hussein told Al Jazeera.

“They did not send me at all. I tried to send a message. None of them responded. “

A recent Human Rights Watch report accuses the Chinese government of “crimes against humanityMostly against Muslim Uyghurs in its western Xinjiang region.

Crimes, including imprisonment, forced labor, sexual violence, torture, murder, and enforced disappearance.

Hussein believes his 85-year-old father and mother-brothers have moved to what he describes as a “concentration camp”. Large-scale detention centers that the United Nations says can hold approximately one million Uyghurs.

The Chinese government calls such centers “education” camps, which offer “Professional skills training«

Alim Osman, president of the Victorian Uyghur Association, said in a recent parliamentary poll that there were about 5,000 Uyghurs living in Australia, about 1,500 of whom were thought to be in Adelaide, a city of 1.3 million on the south coast.

Youssef Hussein’s family members in Xinjiang province, who say he has not been able to contact since 2017 [Courtesy of Yusuf Hussein]

Many Uyghurs living in Australia have such stories about arresting loved ones or disappearing altogether.

“No one can answer us”

After moving to the country in 2011, 33-year-old Marhaba Yakub Salai, like Hussein, is also an Australian national of Uyghur descent living in Adelaide.

His older sister, Mayla Yakufu, is also in prison in Xinjiang for the second time.

When Yakufu was released after he was interned for the first time in 10 months in 2017, Saley spoke to him on the phone for about 10 minutes.

During the conversation, Yakufu did not say where he was.

“I was trying to ask him. “Where have you been in the last 10 months?” Saley told Al Jazeera:

“He did not say anything but said, ‘Do not worry about us, the Communist Party of China [is] looking at us very well. “

Sally believed that her sister was not calling from home, but from somewhere under government control.

That was the last time they talked, իս In May 2019, Yakufu was arrested again.

According to an email from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) seen by Al Jazeera, Saleh’s sister was arrested on “suspicion of financing terrorist activities”.

The accusation, Salai explained, was based on money transferred by his sister to their parents, who also live in Adelaide.

This money, as Salai told Al aze Azira, was not for terrorism, but to buy a house.

“We got all the evidence here,” Saley said. “This is black and white evidence, but the Chinese government still accuses my sister of supporting terrorism abroad.”

Sali believed that the Chinese government had fabricated such accusations for the arrest of his Uyghur sister, and DFAT e. The letter said her sister was likely to be kept in a “traditional prison rather than a rehab camp.”

Almas Nizanidin also had his girlfriend, an Australian Uighur citizen, “unknown”.

In 2017, his wife, Buzainafu Abudurexit, now 29, was sentenced to seven years in prison for saying “no charges” and “no evidence”.

Nizanidine had planned to return to China to help his wife emigrate to Australia, where he has lived since 2009, but before he could, he was interned, և he does not know his whereabouts.

«[The Chinese authorities] he will not tell me anything. They tell us. “This is an order from the highest authorities,” he told Al Jazeera.

“I have been everywhere [in China] “No one can answer me.”

Mayla Yakufu, 44, arrested on charges of financing terrorism after sending money to send her parents home in Adelaide, Australia [Courtesy of Marhaba Yakub Salay]

Nizanidin said his mother, a 55-year-old high school math teacher, had also been arrested and sent to a detention center for more than two years.

He was eventually released last year, but Nizanidin said that although he spoke to his mother on the phone at the time, he would not say anything about his experience.

“She is shocked and scared. “He does not want to say anything,” he said.

“He was telling me, ‘Shut up, shut up.’ Just do your own business. “Do not say anything against the Chinese government.”

Hussein, Salai and Nizanidin all told Al Jazeera that the Australian Federal Government had assisted in the investigation into what happened to their loved ones.

In a separate case, Australia finally managed to bring in another Uyghur man, Saddam Abdusalam’s wife Back to Home In December 2020. He had he was tirelessly campaigning so that his family can be reunited.

However, Nizanidin said the Australian government was cautiously pursuing the issue of Uyghur’s disappearance and detention because of its close economic and trade ties with China.

That’s Sala’s mood.

“I sometimes talk about money. But money must be clean, right? ” he told Al Jazeera.

Trade effect

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, with exports amounting to A $ 168 billion ($ 128.6 billion) in 2019-20, equivalent to one-third of Australia’s total world trade.

Recently, these trade relations have become increasingly strained due to Australia’s call for an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus in China, and allegations of forced labor among Chinese companies in Xinjiang are being investigated by Australian trade agreements.

In late 2020, a report emerged that the government of Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, had entered into a deal with a Chinese railway company over forced labor in Uighur.

A report by the Australian Institute for Strategic Policy (ASPI), Uyghurs For Sale, identifies 82 foreign-Chinese companies “who may directly or indirectly exploit the use of Uyghur workers outside Xinjiang through abusive relocation programs by 2019.”

The companies mentioned in the Companies section include CRRC, which ASPI says is part of a $ 2 billion ($ 1.5 billion) contract to build 65 trains for the Victorian government.

In a statement to Al Azira Azira TV, the spokesman said the Victorian government was “deeply concerned” about allegations of forced labor with companies involved in the Victoria Train project.

The statement said that the government “has received repeated assurances from manufacturers that there is no evidence of forced labor in their supply chains.”

Almas Nizanidin, arrested in 2017, along with his wife, Buzainafu Abudurexiti. He has not been in contact with her since [Courtesy of Almas Nizanidin]

Despite calls from the opposition to provide evidence of such assurances, there has been no proposal yet.

Instead, opposition Transport Minister David Davis took drastic steps to obtain such evidence through a civil court.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Davis admitted that it was “infamously difficult to look at the supply chain” for evidence of forced labor.

However, he added that “if the minister has received an assurance [that Uighur forced labour was not being used] “We want to see what that assurance is.” We wondered why the government was “fighting hard” to suppress such evidence.

Together with the governments of the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada putting recent pressure on China to treat the Uyghur minority“Hussein, Saleh and Nizanidin believe that the Australian government should follow suit.”

“The Australian government can recognize this as genocide; it is pressuring the Chinese government to release my sister,” Sali said.

The question is clear for the three of them և human. Three Australians stay in touch with their loved ones.

“I need to talk to my wife,” Celine said. “I just want to be reunited with my family.”

The pain of this separation A further escalation took place during the recent Eid.

“Today is our holiday, we were calling them and talking [our family]”Hussein told Al Jazeera.

“It simply came to our notice then. Even my children, our elder is 11 years old, he asks. “Where is my grandfather?” “Where is my grandmother?”

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