A group of Myanmar refugees returned to their hometown of Maathai after being detained by Chinese authorities and were unable to leave the country.
Key points:The refugees, mostly Rohingya Muslims, were held in detention centres in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong for more than a yearThe group, called “the army’s family”, were released last monthThe group says they were held for a year, but they had to leave for a period of time because of the country’s security restrictionsIt’s a stark example of the challenges that China has faced in resettling refugees in its country after its border was closed in the wake of a deadly riot in 2016.
But they’re not the only group to be detained.
On Monday, the group said they had been held in Guangdongs main detention centre for over a year.
“The group was detained in a detention centre in Guangzhou, Guangdings main detention center for a long time,” a spokesman for the group told ABC News.
“We were denied permission to leave and we were only allowed to leave in the morning and then the evening and that was that.”
The group’s group leader said they were detained for a total of eight months and were forced to leave their home for a longer period.
“At one point they were only permitted to leave at night, and they were forced not to go outside,” the spokesman said.
“They had to be inside for two weeks and then we had to move to another place to be allowed to go to school.”
Then we were taken to a small village, and there was only two people in the village and we had a small tent for them to sleep in.
“Chinese authorities had previously blocked the Myanmar border after a violent riot in which at least 30 people were killed and hundreds injured.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has said he will continue to open up the border to refugees, but some say the government is deliberately trying to keep the influx low to limit the risks.