By Diaa Hadid
Last year, the Chinese wife of a Pakistani man traveled back home to China with their two children. She wanted to introduce her younger boy, 18 months old, to her mom.
But after she landed in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, she was detained, says her husband, a doctor named Rehman. His wife is a Uighur Muslim, a member of a minority group that has been targeted in a Chinese crackdown.
Security officials left their sons at their grandmother’s house. Weeks later, they returned and took away the older boy, age 6.
The security officials “admitted him to a Chinese orphanage school,” says Rehman. From what he’s understood, the orphanage is meant to raise the children in Chinese culture. “They don’t want the children to have Pakistani or Uighur customs. They want the children to become Chinese,” he says. “It’s not a normal school. They teach them, they feed them, but they don’t allow the children to see their parents.”