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Life of Iraqi Atheist in China

Forums Forums General Discussion Life of Iraqi Atheist in China

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    Hello Everybody  ,

    Part 1

    I have wrote an intro about me before , now I would like to share my experience in China , since my early days in 2015 , up until now .

    since I cant go back to my country , Iraq , due to me being an Atheist , and there is blasphemy charges against me as well we Islamists extremists searching for me for the same reasons .

    I fled Iraq and came to China as its the only choice I have , as I married a Chinese Han ( Atheist , no religion ) , also , due to me being from Iraq , no country accepts Iraqi Passports as you know , so I came to China in mid 2016 .

    prior to that , I have been in China in 2015 , where I married my Chinese wife , we married in her hometown , the city of Wuhan , and the Chinese Civil Affairs Office in the city issued us the Marriage Certificate , it was October 2015 , then , I went to the nearest Chinese Police Station ( nearest to my wifes family apartment ) , then I registered my self with them as its requirement by law , then I went to the Chinese Public Security Bureau in Wuhan and I filled and applied for the Chinese Family Re-Union Residence , early November 2015 , and then , Officers asked me for my necessary papers , afterwards , they told me there will be a interview with a Police Officer and you need his approval for the Residence , I dont know if this only because I am from Iraq , or its for every foreigner , anyhow , I did the interview , it was questions about how we met and how we are living and if my wifes family approves the marriage , despite my wife already +21 years old  .

    anyhow , he approved it , then I applied , 2 weeks later , I got the Chinese Family Residence Permit valid for 2 years , then I went to the same Police Station and updated my information with the new Residence Permit , now fast forward to mid 2016 where I after what happened to me in Iraq forced me to flee Iraq , I didnt have choice except China where I can directly travel to , so , I did , after my arrival in China , few months of searching for jobs and checking information , I knew , that , as Iraqi Passport holder , I am NOT allowed to work in China , and they wont give me the Working Residence Permit , this comes directly from the Chinese PSB , they told me this information , this , made my life extremely hard  as I am running low of funds , then I began to search for ways to find a solution for me and my wife , then I found out that the UNHCR , has an Office in Beijing , China , which I was really happy for , in late March 2017 , I went to Beijing with my wife , and went on to the location , I saw a building with the UN Flag on it , it was a diplomatic area , and I went with my wife to the nearest hotel for a day until next morning where I can go to them , in the hotel , they asked my wife for my passport , and then they scanned the Information Page , the Residence and the last Entrance Date to China , thankfully I am already having the Residence otherwise I wouldnt be able to live anywhere during this day , anyway , next morning , I went with my wife to this Building , then went to 4th floor as I remember , and I found the room closed , we waited , then someone came , a young Chinese boy , I talked to him in English , he replied , and said , there is a caravan downstairs , its where interview happens , please go there and wait for us , then I went to this caravan , it was very small , with few chairs , maximum of 7 people at a time can live there and I sit and waited , then they called me after around 10AM , then I went to the Interview Room , there was Glass between me and a UN Worker , Chinese , and she asked me how can she help , I replied I would like to apply for Asylum Seeker , she said first time , you get an Interview Date , then she gave me a paper with info , and she asked me for my Passport , then she registered it and said , come again on May 2nd ,2017 for interview and bring the necessary documents along with Police Registration Certificate and your Passport , I replied will do , and then Interview finished and I went out and cameback to Wuhan in that same day .

    Part 2 follows …


    Question is – why aren’t you in America??


    Part 2 ,

    in May 2017 , 1 day before my Interview , I traveled with my wife to Beijing with all necessary papers , we stayed a day in the same hotel , then next day I went with my wife to the UNHCR Office ,there , around 10:30am , they called me in , I went to the Interview Room , I met with the same girl , and she welcomed me again , then she asked me to fill an Application Form , then come again , this application form , was a lot of papers , I think 10 or so pages , It was about my whole life , from birth info , to countries I traveled to , up to what is my education level , then about the Case it self , then after I have completed it , and then I waited again , until they called me again , then I went to the Interview Room again , and gave the Application , along with Passport , Police Registration Form and Supporting Documents .
    then she asked me tell me what happened in short version , then I began to talk , it took around an hour to explain the situation , then , she told me to come after the Lunch Break , around 2PM again .
    after coming again , she gave me a paper , it wrote on it UNHCR Asylum Seeker Certificate , valid for 6 Months , she said , currently you are an Asylum Seeker , you will be be able to stay in China until we will contact you for your 2nd Interview , also known as Refugee Status Determination or RSD for short , and during which , you are not allowed to Work or Study in China , and you should follow the rules as we cant help you if you have issues with Police , and when your Asylum Seeker Certificate expires , sent it with a valid Police Registration Form by post and we will renew it and sent it back , without the need of you come yourself here .
    then I asked her , I already have a Chinese Family Residence , what I should do , she said , keep it , its even better for you , the I asked her again , when I would possibly get my RSD Interview , she said I dont know , then I thanked her , and Interview is over and me and my wife went back to Wuhan .

    Part 3 follows .


    @Player , I hold Iraqi passport , no country gives me a visa , and soon you will know a situation regarding a visa happened to me .


    Part 3   ,

    from May 2017 were I received my UN Asylum Seeker Certificate until October 2017 nothing happened , then in October 2017 , a Chinese Police Officers came to where I live and asked me for my Passport , they took photos using their smart phones for the Information Page of the Passport , the Residence Permit and then they told me to hold me passport with the Information Page , then they took photo of me with it ( like in US when take photo for criminal with the number on their hands ) , then they told my wife , his residence is about to expire , he need to go to Police Station to update his information , then renew the residence then update the information again , also , they said to her , he is not allowed to work here , it was scary meeting with them , but I followed the rules despite being registered with the UN , I went to Chinese Police Station , updated my information , then went to Chinese PSB , applied for new Family Residence Permit , then in mid November 2017 , I received new Family Residence Permit valid for 2 years , then I went to Police Station and updated the information , and with the new Police Registration Form , I added the UN Asylum Seeker Certificate and sent it to the UN Office in Beijing for renewal , 10 days later , I received the new UN Asylum Seeker Certificate valid until May 2018 , but beginning with November 2018 , Police Office began to come to visit me almost once or twice a month , to check my information which made me feel like in in prison because I didnt break any rules , and still this happens all time .

    my wife during this period , began to work part time jobs to provide the basic needs as we were under a big financial issue , then until May 2018 , also , I heard nothing from the UN , in this time , I completed  1 Year Registered with the UN in China without getting any email about my Case . in June 2018  I received my new UN Asylum Seeker Certificate valid for another 6 Months until December 2018 .

    by August 2018 , I couldnt bare the life of not knowing what my future holds , and Chinese Police all time checking on me and the UN didnt do anything to help me despite only less than 500 Asylum Seekers in all over China , so I decided to apply for New Zealand Visa and travel there .


    Part 4 follows


    Part 4  ,  New Zealand Dream ( Fails ) ,

    in August 2018 , I have legalized in University Certificates in New Zealand Embassy , followed by applying for New Zealand Qualification Authority for approving my Certificate , which I got it Level 4 Bachelor Degree ( which would have helped me in finding job in NZ ) , later on , I found a School in New Zealand that I can study English for 3 Months ( the cheapest ) , then I combined what money left with me with my wife’s , and we took money from her family as debt then I paid the school in early September 2018 , followed by the school sending me the Invitation , the I applied for New Zealand Visa Online , it was early September 2018 ,I was supposed to travel by November .

    September 2018 finished and no answer , then October 2018 came , I called New Zealand Immigration , they told me its under processing , then I waited until December 2018 ( where my UN Asylum Certificate Expired ) and still no answer , then in late January 2019 , I got email from Immigration New Zealand , telling me that my Application for Student Visa has been rejected ( after 5 Months of processing ) , on that time , I really lost and dont know what to do , I got my refund back and was lost as I dont know what I should do .

    Part 5 follows


    Part 5   The Only Option ,

    in February 2019  I have renewed the UN Asylum Seeker Certificate in for another 6 Months , then I began to contact different organizations in Europe and North American for Support ,  not financially , but , I needed Support Letters for my Case .

    in Mid February 2019 , Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain , sent me Support Letter , and it was my 1st Support Letter , then in Early March 2019 , I received my 2nd Support Letter from Ex-Muslims of Norway , in same time , I was with my wife in a market where I got email from the UN , telling me to come after 2 weeks for my RSD Interview ,  they also said in the email that I only permitted to stay 48 hours in Beijing  , in that moment , I began to dance , literary , I did dance , because I got back my hopes up , 2 weeks later , I went to Beijing , then went to the Office and they called me around 10AM for my Interview .

    it was a Chinese RSD Officer , male , around mid 30s , he told me that in this interview , he need to know everything about the case and then he began to question me , it took around 3 hours to complete the Interview , then he told me that they will process the Case and the Results should come fairly quickly , and if I got Approved , then I will get the Refugee Status , but that still wont allow me to Work or Study in China , also , only less than 1% of Refugees get Resettlement around the World , still that didnt brought down my hope .

    then , I left Beijing , then March , April , May , and the until early June 2019 and there were no update on my Results , then I got email from UN for an Interview on June 11th,2019 in Wuhan ( where I live ) .

    this meeting was in Hotel , it was in Conference Room , there were UNHCR Personnel and Chinese Officers from PSB , then I found out that I wasnt alone in Wuhan and there were 74 other Asylum Seekers mostly from Middle East and North Africa ( all Muslims ) , during the meeting , the Chinese Officers were talking about how to respect Chinese law and follow the rules , and that as Asylum Seekers you cant work as it needs special permit and  then they said that currently we cant location 20 Asylum Seekers who didnt update their information ! , after the Meeting finished they checked everyone’s information and then meeting finished .

    then in same month , Atheist Republic Organization which is based in Canada , sent me my 3rd Support Letter , which I have emailed to the UN to update my Case , after that , June , July and currently August , and am still waiting for my Results !


    Final Part comes


    Final Part : Waiting for Future ,

    in Early this month , I renewed my UN Asylum Seeker Certificate , and as of today , I have been with the UN for almost 2.5 years and almost 6 Months of waiting for my RSD Interview Results (despite it should come within 8 weeks ) .

    Yesterday , a Police Officer came and asked my wife if I go out alone , and where I go usually , when I go , how long I stay outside , and if I go out within 1-3KM or more , I seriously didnt know what to say or what to do , all I know now , I am in a bigger version of Prison , I wish the UN Approves my Application and find a solution for me .

    you guys , I am sure some of you already experienced or read such experience , but trust me , what I have been through is much worse that I can describe  .

    thank you guys for reading  .

    Feel free to ask me anything



    Hayder, I confess that I have not read all you have said here… It is very complex, and I am on my way out. I will try later.

    But your situation brings up a lot more general question I have, regarding religious persecution in China. You (Hayder) don’t need to answer it, unless an answer comes easily to you. My question is really more for Ameticans who are used to the laws we have here.

    Does anyone know how freedom of religion actually works in China? Since they actively persecute people of all religions, can they persecute atheists too for not having specific beliefs? Seems like once you can compel in one way, you can compel in other ways.




    Nothing to ask, it’s all a bit overwhelming.   Supports my opinion that we are getting less and less humane in this world that’s being increasingly controlled by machines and peabrains with only power and profits in their hearts.


    Guess I am curious:

    How do you spend your time when not waiting in line?

    What’s it like interacting with your wife’s relatives and other Chinese?  Do you speak the language well?  Are you accepted?

    I do wish you best of luck with their future decisions.

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