There are concerns a two-year-old Australian citizen trapped in Xinjiang province in China is caught up in what experts call a growing use of “hostage diplomacy” by Beijing.
- The Australian Government has repeatedly asked China to allow Nadila Wumaier and her son Lutfy, who is an Australian citizen, to travel to Australia
- The ABC understands China is insisting the case an “internal matter” because Lutfy is a dual citizen
- Experts believe Beijing is using the toddler’s case to express its displeasure with the Morrison Government
China has increasingly been accused of detaining international citizens to order to bully, coerce or retaliate against foreign governments.
Lutfy is an Australian citizen with an Australian passport and his mother Nadila Wumaier has a valid Australian visa but the Chinese Communist Party has banned them from leaving.
They are trapped in Xinjiang, where it is estimated more than 1 million Uyghurs are currently being detained in re-education camps, while those not detained have had their passports taken away, making it impossible for them to leave China
A few weeks after the family’s case was revealed by Four Corners in July, the Australian consul-general in Beijing met with the director of consular affairs at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Lutfy’s case.
Foreign Minister Payne then raised the toddler’s plight during talks in Bangkok with top-level Chinese diplomats in early August.