CANBERRA, Australia: The Australian embassy in Beijing has formally asked China to allow an Australian toddler and his mother to leave the country.
An Uyghur Australian man Sadam Abudusalamu highlighted the widespread persecution of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang region on the ABC’s Four Corners program this week.
After the interview, Chinese authorities detained his wife Nadila Wumaie and questioned in the city of Urumqi yesterday. Later Nadila was released but she been prevented from leaving Xinjiang.
Abudusalamu has been asking the federal government to help bring his wife and two-year-old son Lutfy to Australia.
His son is an Australian citizen, but Ms Wumaier is not.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement that she was “aware of reports that Abudusalamu’s wife was questioned.”
“The Department [of Foreign Affairs and Trade] continues to provide assistance to the family.”
Payne added however that “it is important to note that as Ms Wumaier is not an Australian citizen, we do not have an entitlement to consular access”.
“The Embassy in Beijing have formally requested that the Chinese authorities allow Ms Wumaier and her son [who is an Australian citizen] to travel to Australia.”
The Four Corners program highlighted the plight of Uyghur Australians with family members still trapped back in Xinjiang, while outlining how Uyghur Muslim detainees are used as labourers in garment factories.
Following the airing of Monday’s Four Corners, the Chinese Embassy in Australia released a statement lashing out at the program as being “full of lies, distortion and bias” while defending the current situation in Xinjiang as being a successful counter-terrorism and deradicalisation program.
The statement has been widely picked up on and circulated throughout China.
Abudusalamu welcomed Senator Payne’s statement but urged further action.
“I really appreciate what she is doing but … as a father and a husband … I still need more,” he said.
“I’m not going to stop until I see my son until I see my wife.”
He has told the ABC of the pressure placed on his wife following the broadcast of Monday’s program.