Do Chinese ‘activists’ want to seek asylum or stay in China?

Yes, he does, and it is a mis-interpretation that all activists or those illegally detained etc want political asylum out of China … in fact, it is China reform (be it political [but not necessarily democracy], and the legal system renovated, etc) they want, not to leave their country. He has a tough decision to make as he needs to weigh also how they will treat him and is family if he stays and how they will treat his family if he leaves …


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Human Rights Video – Showcasing Wu Yuren’s struggle and detention …

Shannon Van Sant (US documentary maker) has recently won the Amnesty International’s Award for Best Human Right’s documentary, with her version of the land claim struggle faced by many artists in mainland China in the recent times, including Wu Yuren, Gao Brothers, Ai Weiwei, Guo Jian and others. Take a look! I cry everytime I see it, but then again, I am in it.

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Official release from house arrest – announcement

Wu Yuren announced that he has received his passport back and there are no charges. He is a free man! Thank you to all supporters over the past 22 months or so – much appreciated by Wu and his family and friends.


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Calgary woman gets a taste of Chinese justice…

Calgary woman gets a taste of Chinese justice…

By Gillian Steward

Attn: Andrew Phillips/Editorial Page Editor/Toronto Star.

Dec. 18 /2011
Karen Patterson remembers every detail of the day her husband was released from a Chinese jail after a severe beating, two trials, and almost a year in custody.

Patterson, who has since returned to Calgary, had started fighting for Wu Yuren’s release in June of 2010 when she discovered that he was being held in a cell at a detention centre in Beijing.

His crime? Simply showing up at the police station with a friend who was having a dispute with his landlord. But the real crime, as the far as the police were concerned, was more likely the fact that Wu was an outspoken artist and political activist.

That doesn’t go over well in China these days.

Patterson had lived and worked in China for almost 15 years; she and Wu had a six-year-old daughter. So she knew China well enough to figure out that she had to use her advantage as a Canadian citizen to challenge the system and fight hard for his release.

“Chinese women are silenced much more easily, their families are threatened. So it is harder for them to fight back if their husbands are imprisoned for speaking out,” she said during an interview.

As a result of her efforts, Wu’s incarceration became somewhat of an international cause célèbre. At one point during his trial 150 people gathered outside the courtroom to sing and chant.  Canadian and international news media picked up the story. Amnesty International started a letter writing campaign on Wu’s behalf.

But almost a year later, after two trials but no conviction, Wu was still in custody.  Patterson thought he might have already been sent to prison where he could remain for years.

And then on April 3rd of this year Wu called her on her cell phone and said he was being released.

She was shocked. 

He told her the police were going to drop him off at a location just outside Beijing and they wanted her to agree to pick him up.

She arrived at the designated spot. A large black car with tinted windows was waiting.  A man in a bullet proof vest stepped out of the car.  And then Wu stepped out.   

“Everyone was ‘China nice’ to each other, very polite. And then they left,” Patterson said.  “I later found out that they were the secret police.”

Wu told her he had been taken from his cell at midnight and driven to a hotel/spa outside Beijing that the police use to temporarily hold new detainees or those being released. The next day they took him out to get new shoes, a suit, and a haircut.

But while Wu was not in a cell anymore, he was not free. He was given a special cell phone with which the police could track his every movement, his passport was taken away, and he was told he could not talk to the news media. And yet, he had never been convicted of any wrong doing.

Even before Wu was released, Patterson had decided it was time for her to leave China. She and Wu were already separated when he was incarcerated. But because she decided to fight for his release she had problems renewing her visa, she had to close her businesses, and she was hassled and harassed by the police at every opportunity. 

Patterson also found out that her landlady had been pressured by the police to evict her from her apartment. Luckily, the woman stood her ground so Patterson and her daughter wouldn’t suddenly find themselves on the street.

“That was incredibly brave of her,” said Patterson. “I will always be grateful.”

Patterson and Wu agreed that it would be best for her and young Hannah to come back to Calgary.  They arrived in June but remain in touch with Wu through email and Skype.

And although Patterson still worries about what will eventually happen to Wu and all those other people in China who are persecuted day after day, she’s glad to be spending this Christmas in Canada. 

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A Year On After WU Yuren’s Illegal Detention – where is the case now?

Sneaking up on me like a snake in the grass, International Children’s Day is today and is a day of great celebration for our little friends all over China, if not the world. However, for our family, the memories resonate with the ‘anniversary’ of Wu’s illegal and unjustified detention, well, official detention. In fact, he was taken in on the late afternoon of May 31st, harshly beaten, and kept in the police station over night. He was moved by police van to the Chaoyang District Criminal Detention Center on June 1, 2010, where he stayed until April 3rd, 2011, when he was released on ‘parole’ – the same day that Ai Weiwei and Wen Tao were taken in, kind of like a revolving door.

So, here we are a year on and Wu is still in legal limbo land. The authorities took in his passport and have not told him when his parole is up. It seems weird, however, that he should be on parole really, as he was never actually sentenced. Isn’t parole for good behavior AFTER a sentencing? I suppose that this is their way of ‘dealing’ with his case, as they were never able to produce any evidence of ‘violence against public service’ during BOTH trials – one that took place on Nov 17th, 2010 which resulted in being adjourned due to lack of evidence. The trial was reconvened on January 28th and after an hour of talks, that trial, too, was unable to produce reasonable evidence. We have been waiting for a sentence since. Parole being the sentence? Who knows.

Where am I? I see the long stretch as being somewhat over, just turning now into the last 1/4 mile … but there is the ‘fear’ that he could be dragged in again as they have him by the short and curlies, to be sure. I am off to Canada this July, sort of leaving China for awhile, going back to school, and getting on with my life. Dawu will stay here for the time being, as he can’t legally leave the country, and decide what he wants to do, work on his art and revitalize his art career. Hopefully the government will allow him ‘space’ to do that.

Hannah as been a super trouper through out all of this, and now even in knowing that we are leaving China for a while sans baba. She loves her baba and wants to be with him all the time, playing, reading, doing homework, clowning around, riding her bike, swimming, and hearing stories of where he was for the past year. Despite the parole being somewhat of a legal anomaly, it has allowed for Hannah and her baba to reunite and get back into their groove. As a mother and pr campaigner for Wu for almost 10 months, I can say that I was somewhat successful in achieving my goal. It was by far the most emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially draining ‘job’ I have ever had.

Thank you, everyone, for your love and support for the three of us over this past year, both on line and in person.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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“One In, One Out”: Human Rights Lawyer Li Fangping Detained

Wu’s Lawyer, Li Fangping, taken by authorities, too.

Human rights lawyer Li Fangping has been detained in Beijing, hours after the release of Teng Biao, in an apparent “revolving-door trick” designed to influence public perception of the . From Chinese Human Rights Defenders:

Around 5 pm local time on April 29, Beijing-based human rights lawyer (李方平) was kidnapped by unidentified individuals outside the offices of the health rights NGO Beijing Center, of which he is a legal advisor. Li was able to speak briefly with his wife, telling her, “I may be gone for a period of time… can’t talk more.” Further efforts to contact him have been unsuccessful, and his whereabouts are unknown.

The news of Li Fangping’s abduction comes on the heels of reports that prominent human rights lawyer (滕彪) was released earlier that afternoon after 70 days of enforced disappearance . ’s wife, who confirmed his return, said she could not comment on his health or any other details of his disappearance. While the timing of Teng’s release initially seemed to signal a positive response by the Chinese government to this week’s U.S.-China human rights dialogue, the disappearance of Li shortly thereafter quickly dampened any hope that pressure on human rights activists in China might be easing. These actions raise renewed questions about the limits of international pressure on the Chinese government, as well as the effectiveness of human rights dialogues.

“In recent months, and especially during this crackdown, we have seen that torture to enforce silence is becoming a frighteningly common experience for those disappeared or detained,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’s International Director. “The Chinese authorities, in the meantime, are resorting to an old trick, the revolving-door approach—one in, one out—to create the impression that things are improving.”

Li Fangping is a prominent Beijing-based human rights lawyer who in recent years has represented a number of high-profile victims of political and religious persecution, including, among others, , (杨春林), (胡佳), and (赵连海). He has faced frequent harassment from officials, and, on December 27, 2006, was severely beaten and suffered head injuries after he and another lawyer were assaulted en route to visit in a Shandong Prison.

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China’s human rights crackdown – interactive guide – click and read!

China’s human rights crackdown – interactive guide

Chinese authorities have made their biggest move against dissidents and activists for years, including artist Ai Weiwei. The crackdown followed an anonymous online call for protests inspired by Middle Eastern uprisings, although it is unclear if any of those held or missing were connected to the appeal. Information is from human rights groups and inquiries by the Guardian

China’s detained and missing

Liu Xiaoyuan (Beijing)

Rights lawyer who has worked with Ai Weiwei and was willing to represent him again. Unreachable since 8pm on 14 April, when he posted a message saying he was being followed. Police have not responded to queries

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