(THE DIPLOMAT) – Maryem Abdulhamid, 47, is a mother of four children. She fled Xinjiang and came to Istanbul in 2016 with only two of her children at the time. Abdulhamid was pregnant with her fourth child when she decided to leave Xinjiang, fearing that she would be persecuted by Chinese authorities for having another child. Abdulhamid’s third daughter, Rizwangul, was just 12 years old the last time she saw her and was left in the care of her husband back in 2016.
“The main reason that we could not take my daughter to Turkey was because she was not given a passport at the time,” Abdulhamid said. “We have never committed any crimes or never had a criminal record and we were positive that now that she had her Turkish passport they would let me reunite with her and her siblings but they [the Chinese authorities] have not done this for the last four years.”
The last time she spoke to her daughter Rizwangul was on a brief phone call in 2017, when she managed to get through to their family cell phone. Abdulhamid described her daughter’s words as being, “Where is my father? I am alone here with no one to look after me.”
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