Two days later, Han vigilantes stormed into Uighur neighborhoods to take revenge. Vali said he saw a group of Han Chinese paramilitary police beating about a dozen unarmed Uighurs just outside his house. When the Uighur men fell to the ground, Han protesters ran over and stomped on their bodies and faces, he said.
Vali’s father paid for his escape through the sale of their home. With 100,000 yuan ($14,700) in hand, Vali took a train from Urumqi to the southern city of Guangzhou. There he stayed for another two months while waiting for travel documents he had paid a Chinese gang 90,000 yuan ($13,200) to obtain on his behalf.
It was November by the time his escape route - a flight to Dubai, transiting in Amsterdam - was ready. A Chinese man dropped him off at the Guangzhou border control, but police detained and interrogated him for four hours before finally letting him go. He caught a bus to Hong Kong’s airport and made the flight.
“It was only after I arrived in Holland that I finally felt safe,” he said. “I thought the government would protect me.”
However, Vali soon discovered that the Dutch government was less sympathetic than he had hoped. The Dutch immigration service rejected his application, saying his account of problems with Chinese authorities following the unrest was not credible, and pointed to his ability to travel legally out of the country.
“If the police believe I didn’t take part in the protest, why would they come and look for me?” said Vali, who has filed an appeal. “Just for trying to seek political asylum, I will be in big trouble. It’s a big crime.”
Patiguli, 29, hid at home during the riots, fearing for her boyfriend, who had called to say he was joining the demonstrations, as well as her grandmother, who was outside.
When police found her boyfriend at her home a few days after the unrest, they also detained Patiguli and her brother, holding them in separate locations and interrogating them for six days. Her mother, a businesswoman, had to bribe officials to secure the release of the siblings.
Patiguli never saw or heard from her boyfriend again.
Patiguli and her brother went into hiding for eight months while her mother paid traffickers to help Patiguli escape. Patiguli flew out of Shanghai on a flight that transited in a European destination she did not disclose, where she was picked up by a Chinese man and driven to a hotel to stay a night before driving again.
“This is Amsterdam. There is a police office on the second floor of this building. Go in there,” the man told her when they arrived at their final stop. He also wanted her passport and plane ticket, saying the Dutch would send her back to China if she still had them. “This would not be good for you, and it won’t be good for us.”
Mr. Zainiding says he knows of 150 Uighurs who have fled to Holland since the riot, and he is closely tracking 70 cases. Of those, about 20 are likely to be given asylum, while another 30 or so have been rejected because of insufficient evidence of persecution, Mr. Zainiding said.
“The Dutch government does not understand the Uighur situation. It’s so difficult to get things sent out of China right now, doing that will put their families back home in serious danger,” he said. “The authorities here treat the Uighurs very coldly.”
The Dutch government says immigration authorities are treating the Uighurs’ cases like all others.View Entire Story
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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