She survived a Chinese internment camp and made it to Virginia. Will the U.S. let her stay?November 17, 2019
For Dawut, like many others, the ordeal started with a call from the police.
In March 2018, she was at home in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, when she was told to report to a local station.
She was led to a cold basement and tied by her wrists and ankles to a metal chair. Over the next 24 hours, she was interrogated about calls to and from her cellphone and about bank transactions she had made, according to her account.
After a day, she was moved — black hood over her head, still shackled — in a police van to a medical center and then on to a detention camp. She said she was forced to change into prison clothes in front of men.
Eventually, she was taken to a cramped cell filled with so many women that they had to lie down in shifts, she said. By day, they were forced to recite propaganda and praise Chinese leader Xi.
She was held for 62 days, a stay that might have been longer, she believes, had her husband not been pressing Pakistani diplomats for help to obtain her release.
When she was let go, she was forced to sign documents agreeing not to practice her religion and not to tell anyone what had happened in the camp.