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'Grateful to God': Former Prisoner Arrives in US to Testify of China's Crimes Against Humanity in Xinjiang

Randy Mancini 36 Apr 12

Obulbek and his wife and child were authorized to enter the U.S. on a special public benefit parole, but it grants no immigration status, according to Axios

'Finally Realizing a Long-Held Hope'

"I feel so happy to safely arrive with my family in America. For us, this means finally realizing a long-held hope," he told the outlet after landing at Dulles International Airport 26 miles west of Washington, D.C.

"First, I'm grateful to our God," Obulbek said. "I'm also grateful to the U.S. government and the friends who helped us the whole time. We would not have been able to safely arrive in America without their help."

Axios reports Obulbek, an ethnic Kyrgyz, is the first Christian detained in the camps to come forward publicly about his experience. He has also studied law and watched the actions of Chinese authorities during his confinement. 

Detained, Tortured for 10 Months

He was jailed in February of 2018 by Chinese officials who claimed that he stayed longer than he was permitted on a trip to Kyrgyzstan, according to a detention record viewed by Axios. 

Obulbek he and other prisoners in the camp were interrogated for hours while being strapped into "tiger chairs" that his Chinese guards use to torture inmates. 

The prisoners also were also given shots. Those who received the "vaccinations" became sick. Obulbek said he lost the ability to walk and had to be carried around by his fellow prisoners for several months. 

After his release in November of 2018, he was placed under house arrest for almost one year.  Obulbek left Xinjiang with his family and they escaped by walking to Kyrgyzstan.   

Congressional Lawmakers Give Support

He received support in the U.S. from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). Smith is the top Republican on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a House panel that works to elevate human rights issues across the government, according to Axios

The lawmakers reportedly pressured the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the family's travel to the U.S.

"I am thrilled that the Obulbek family has arrived safely in the United States," Smith told Axios. "Once they have settled in, I anticipate hearing testimony on Xinjiang's forced labor camps."