By Rula Mai Hai
My name is Rula Mai Hai. I am 39 years old, and I live in Melbourne Victoria. I am now a Citizen of Australia.
On 29 Jun 2016, I married Mayila Abulizi in Urumqi, the capital City of current Xinjiang in China. She is 38 years old and a Chinese citizen. She currently lives in Urumqi and has a son from her previous marriage. She is a judge of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region High Court.
In 2018, the department of immigration granted me a sponsored family visa to invite my wife and her son to come to Australia (Visa no: 7579584940363; Visa Subclass UF/309). Unfortunately, her passport was taken away by the local authority and she was unable to come to Australia and reunite with me as expected. She requested her passport from the authority many times and it is rejected.
On 22 Aug 2017, I travelled to China to visit my wife and my stepson, but I was arrested at Chengdu airport of China unlawfully. Chinese police took away my Australian passport and my mobile phone at the airport and detained me for over 30 hours. Then I was taken to a different location of Chengdu and detained further 24 hours.
On 24 Aug 2017, two policemen arrived from Urumqi while I was in remand and flew me to Urumqi. We arrived in Urumqi at 11pm on that night. There were more than 10 police who arrived at the airport in 4 different police cars and transferred me to the National Security Bureau of Xinjiang. They took me to one of their interrogation rooms in Urumqi. I was tied onto a metal chair with handcuffs and shackles. There were many police who interrogated me continuously until 10:00am the next day. They didn’t give me any chance to sleep or stop the interrogation. Then I was transferred to the jail about 40 km from Urumqi and was locked up in a small room with another 35 people. I stayed in that room until 13 Sep 2017. During that time, they didn’t give any explanation and I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone or make a phone call to the Australian Embassy.
An Australian Embassy staff member from Beijing came to visit me on 4 Sep 2017. He asked the Chinese Police what the reason was for arresting me and detaining in Urumqi. The police told him that they were investigating me. He was shocked and angered about the answer that he received from the Chinese police. After he left, they return my passport on 27 Sep. 2017, however I was told that I couldn’t visit China for the next 5 years. They didn’t explain the reason behind the decision. I returned to Australia on 29 Sep 2017.
I am aware that I may never be able to see my wife unless I take some actions to reunite with her in Australia. She has been interrogated and harassed by the authority several times since my departure in Sep. 2017.
As an Australian citizen, it is unacceptable for me to be separated from my family by the Chinese authorities and it is affecting my way of living as an ordinary Australian family with my family members. I hope the Australian government will help me reunite with my family.