Uighur man issues desperate plea for wife and child after Chinese official 'lied' on Australian TV

Sadam Abdusalam is fighting to have his wife and his young son, who is an Australian citizen, freed from house arrest in Xinjiang.

Sadam Abdusalam's wife and son took this photo following the episode of Q+A.

Sadam Abdusalam's wife and son took this photo following the episode of Q+A. Source: Supplied

A Uighur man who is fighting to have his wife and almost three-year-old son brought to Australia says he "can't believe" China's second-highest official in Australia lied about his family's plight on ABC's Q+A.

On Monday night, Sadam Abdusalam appeared on the program to ask Minister Wang Xining, the deputy head of mission at the Chinese Embassy in Australia, when his family would be released from house arrest in the Chinese province of Xinjiang and allowed to travel to Australia, where his son Lutifier is a citizen.

Minister Wang responded that his wife had told the local government in the north-western region in China that she did not want to come to Australia, a claim that was quickly shut down on social media.

Nadila Wumaier has been in house arrest for almost three years, Mr Abdusalam said.
Source: Supplied

"I can't believe the Chinese diplomats lied to my face, right in front of national television, right in front of the whole world," Mr Abdusalam told SBS News on Tuesday.

"But I knew they would do that, that's why I talked to my wife right after the show 'look, this is what they said - is this true?' and she's like 'no, how could they say that'."

Hours after the episode aired live on ABC, Mr Abdusalam posted a photo of his wife, Nadila Wumaier, and son - who was born in Xinjiang and who he has never met - holding a dated piece of paper with the words: "I want to leave and be with my husband".

Uighur man issues desperate plea for wife and child after Chinese official 'lied' on Australian TV

Mr Abdusalam, who is an Australian citizen, said Nadila has been in house arrest for almost three years.

"It's hard, every time I tell myself I'm not going to cry, I'm not going to cry but it's hard. Sometimes at night, I cannot sleep," he said.

"My son is growing so fast, he's started calling me dad. Every time I do a video call he says 'dad, dad' and it just breaks my heart."

Minister Wang told the live studio audience that Mr Abdusalam's wife had fallen pregnant during a trip to the United States and that the Chinese government did not recognise their marriage.

Chinese law also does not allow dual citizenship.

But Mr Abdusalam said he doesn't care if he is not recognised as a dual citizen - he just wants his son in Australia.

The United Nations has estimated that more than one million Uighurs, a Muslim minority, are currently forcibly detained in "reeducation camps" across the highly-surveilled Xinjiang autonomous region.

But during his rare appearance on Australian television, Minister Wang defended the camps as "training centres" and claimed that "many" of the people within them were there voluntarily because the region was "contaminated by terrorist and radical ideas".

"What is the crime of a three-year-old baby. What is he going to call this three-year-old baby, an extremist? Terrorist? Why is it so hard to bring this three-year-old baby to Australia," Mr Abdusalam said.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne formally requested the Chinese government to allow the family to come to Australia following a Four Corner's episode on the family last year.

"Marise Payne is doing a really good job at the moment, she's asked the Chinese government nine times. But China keeps saying my son is a dual citizen," he said.

"All of Australia is hoping I can be reunited with my family."


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Published 25 February 2020 at 9:12pm, updated 25 February 2020 at 9:14pm
By Maani Truu, Lin Evlin

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