Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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More Images of Wu Yuren – ca. 2007

Just came across these images of Wu Yuren, in his studio, ca. 2007. Beijing, China.


Still no word.


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HR Lawyer TENG Biao: “A Hole To Bury You” … or not.

I thought I would share this personal and touching account of TENG Biao’s experience with being beaten and harassed in a local police station in Beijing. Brings to mind Wu’s case, as there are similarities in the way both men were handled, but if they let up on TENG because of his credentials, then why did let up on Wu? Read on…



On Dec. 23, the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Forced Disappearance came into force. China has declined to accede to this convention. My experience that same day is just one of many examples of how the authorities continue to falsely imprison Chinese citizens.

That evening, I was in the Xizhimen area of Beijing chatting with my colleagues Piao Xiang, Xu Zhiyong and Zhang Yongpan. Ms. Piao had been disappeared after she and I went to Dandong on Oct. 7 to argue the court case of Leng Guoquan, a man framed by the police for drug trafficking; she had only been released on Dec. 20. Her abductors had been officers from the state security squad of the Public Security Bureau. I asked her to narrate the entire process of her disappearance in detail.

Later, I suggested to Mr. Zhang, “Let’s go and see Fan Yafeng’s mom.” The day before, we had contacted fellow human rights lawyer Fan Yafeng and found out that he was under strict house arrest. But he had said that his mother was going to be alone at home in the evening and so I thought we should go see her.

Because I used to go there frequently I remembered clearly where she lived. As Mr. Zhang and I entered the block of flats and started walking up the staircase, I had a feeling that someone was following us. Observing that we went to the third floor, a young security guard asked us whom we were visiting. We said, “We’re seeing a friend.” Immediately, he called out for someone else to come up.

We knocked on the door and were greeted by Mr. Fan’s mother. But as we entered the flat, the security guard came with us, and a person in plainclothes stormed in just behind him. The man in plainclothes demanded to check our IDs in a very coarse manner. I asked him in a loud voice, “What sort of people are you? How can you enter a private residence without permission?”

The plainclothes man said, “I am a police officer. We want to check your ID cards.” “You’re a police officer? I want to see your police ID.” “If I am telling you I’m a police officer, then that’s what I am. What are you doing here?” “Is that your business? How can you prove you’re a police officer if you don’t show your police ID card?”

The situation was escalating. I ducked my head and used my phone to send out a message on Twitter, and Mr. Zhang made a phone call to a friend. It was then about half past eight. The plainclothes guy made a phone call asking for reinforcement. Later I learned that at that moment our own reinforcements were mobilizing.

Two police officers showed up. One of them showed us his police ID. I asked Mr. Zhang to note down his police ID number and name, Shi Ligang, and pass it on to our Twitter friends. Then they wanted to check our IDs. I said, “According to Article 15 of the National Identity Card Law you have no right to check them in the present situation.”

He said, “We are conducting an investigation in accordance with the People’s Police Law.” I said, “You can only question people who are suspected of having broken a law. We’ve just come to a friend’s home for a visit, so you have no right to question us.”

We quarreled for some time, and that state security squad officer in plainclothes kept making phone calls asking for more people to come over. The situation was getting worse, so I sent another Twitter message.

I talked to Mr. Fan’s mother and the older state security squad officer told her not to speak to me. I got angry. “You’re not even disclosing your identity, do you think you can enter other people’s flat as you please and order the flat-owner about—not to mention that that’s illegal, it lacks every human feeling!”

“You should think more clearly. Don’t talk so much about the law with me. Do you know where we are? We are on Communist Party territory!”

The state security squad officer later tried to beat me. I warned him, “As you haven’t shown me any documentation, you don’t even have the right to seek a conversation with me. Don’t push me.” Then he said, “Don’t you know what place you are in? This is China! Now you’ve come here, don’t think you can leave again!”

Getty ImagesMr. Teng, a lawyer, unpleasantly discovered that China’s police actually operates outside the law.



After about 15 minutes, a large contingent of police officers arrived. I was in the washroom at the time. I could hear the police dragging Mr. Zhang forcefully downstairs. The plainclothes man banged madly at the door of the washroom, cracking a hole into the thin wooden panel of the door. I said, “I just want to use the washroom!” He said, “You’re not allowed to,” and kept banging against the door. He inserted his hand through the hole he had made, and undid the latch. Several police officers dragged me out. The state security squad officer took away my glasses. I am severely near-sighted, and as a result I was quite unable to see clearly. Later, I wasn’t even able to read a police officer’s ID number.

I protested loudly against this treatment. A whole group of police officers pushed, shoved, pulled and dragged me down the stairs and into a police van. Mr. Zhang’s glasses and mobile phone had also been taken away. As we were dragged away we were also beaten. My hand had been grabbed so violently that it was injured in a few places. A police officer wanted to take away my mobile phone, I resisted with all my force and he eventually desisted.

When we arrived at the Shuangyushu police station, I said, “You have no right to take us into a police station. You can’t be ignorant of the provision of Article 9 of the Police Law!”

“Want to tell us what it says?”

“‘In the following four sets of circumstances, the police may take citizens to a public security bureau for questioning: (1) if the person has been accused of having committed a crime, (2) if a person has been discovered at the suspected scene of a crime, (3) if a person is suspected of a crime and if their identity is not clear, (4) if a person carries goods with them that may have been stolen.” And if you want to check a person’s ID card, you can only do that in the following cases: (1) suspicion of illegal behavior, (2) control of a site, (3) sudden incidents severely endangering the social order, or (4) other situations stipulated in the law – and such a law stipulating other situations must have been passed by the National People’s Congress or its Standing Committee.” I knew this stuff inside out.

“But you are a person ‘whose identity is unclear.'”

“But according to the law, persons whose identity is unclear can only be checked if they are ‘suspected of having committed a crime.’ I don’t belong in that category.” Since there are more and more activists nowadays who are familiar with these two legal provisions and use them to challenge the police, I’ve been told by police officers that they hate the very bones of the legislators who created them.

Mr. Zhang and I were taken to two different rooms on the second floor of the police station. A gang of police officers again came to wrestle my mobile phone from me; and there was another scuffle. All the things inside my pocket were taken out. I protested. Seven or eight police officers loudly insulted me. Two or three were swearing especially viciously, using mafia slang words to curse me.

A police officer shouted at me to sit; I pushed the chair over with my foot. Several officers rushed forward and twisted my arms, punched my head and choked me, and pushed me to the ground. They took me to another room. In the corridor I cried out, “I am a law teacher, I know whether or not you are violating the law.” I said this primarily to make them understand that they were dealing with someone who knew the law, to make them refrain from acting rashly and inflicting too much pain—and it was also meant for the ears of Mr. Zhang and the officers who were interrogating him.

Several police officers pushed me into a corner and one guy came up and fiercely dragged at my tie until he finally managed to pull it off, and threw it to the floor. The police officers pointed at my nose and coarsely swore at me again, and again they cried, “Do you know where you are? If we beat you, what can you do?”

After a while, a police officer came in and said that we had been detained because we had gone to Fan Yafeng’s home. One officer, who I heard addressed as Xu Ping, went from merely loudly interrogating to roaring accusations at me: “O ho, that’s how it is! In that case, you belong to the enemy! F- your mother, you went to see Fan Yafeng! That c-! In that case we don’t have to talk about legal constraints at all! And you motherf- won’t get out of here again! You traitors, you dogs! Counter-revolutionaries! The Communist Party feeds you and pays you and you still don’t acknowledge how good it is! You keep insulting the Party!… We will treat you just like an enemy!”

I was very curious. “How do you treat your enemies?”

“Like Falun Gong!”

“And how do you treat Falun Gong?”

“You’ll find out by and by.”

I felt a pang of horror.

But they got no answers out of me—a total failure. Officer Xu, while asking me questions, kept kicking my legs. I said, “Be a little more civilized!”

Then he said, “So what if I act like this, what can you do! In other matters I will actually still be afraid that someone might complain. But you here, you are an enemy. We can beat you and swear at you and if you complain, it will be useless even if you complain to the Ministry of Public Security!” I thought, this little police officer is younger than 30, how is he so well versed in the Maoist doctrine of the “contradiction between the enemy and us”?

A tall plainclothes officer was getting impatient and said loudly to Officer Xu: “Why waste words on this sort of person? Let’s beat him to death and dig a hole to bury him in and be done with it. How lucky we’ve got a place to put him away here.” Turning to me, he said, “Think your family can find you if you’re disappeared? Tell me, what difference would it make if you vanished from Beijing?” Later he whispered to Officer Xu, “Put him away in the hotel!” I could not hear clearly what hotel he meant, but from the context I assumed he was referring to that “place to bury you.”

I knew they were not just joking, and I felt like a small ant that could be annihilated any moment without a trace. And yet I was not that scared. For one thing, I had already sent out a message on the Internet, and for another, they had by that time also taken my ID card out of my bag and realized that I was a teacher at the China University of Politics and Law.

This special status was the reason why I was not beaten more severely, and why they did not “dig a hole to bury me.” And it is true: I had disclosed this information to the police officers, albeit half-consciously, to avoid being beaten more severely. If it had not been for my status as a teacher at CUPL, a doctor with a degree from Peking University, a famous human rights lawyer, a visiting scholar at Yale, could I still have shown as much courage? I very much doubt it.

I felt ashamed of my status and the differential treatment I was enjoying on account of them. I even felt that if the police didn’t succeed in burying me they would vent their rage against some other disobedient person. Any pain that I was being spared was sure to be inflicted on another, more helpless victim at some point.

How much terror, humiliation and despair do ordinary people suffer who get locked up in police stations, re-education through labour camps, investigation detention cells, custody and repatriation cells, and black jails in the face of a bunch of police officers who regard a person’s life like a blade of grass and treat ordinary people as foes? Police officers across the country threatening to “beat you to death and dig a hole to bury you,” how many people do they actually beat to death or beat until they are disabled?

It was almost midnight when the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau sent round some officers who said they wanted to take me away. They returned my glasses, mobile phone and other things. I told them that I would only leave together with the friend who had been detained with me.

After some more argument, they led me and Mr. Zhang to a car. Someone called my name, and I immediately recognized some netizens. I could not get out of the car but I shook hands with them through the window. Later I learned that many others had also rushed to the scene. An unknown number of netizen friends had expressed support on the Internet and passed on the news. Maybe that is the main reason why we were so quickly released.

On the way back home, a Beijing state security officer complained to me, “If everybody fought with them using your methods, the police would have no way of continuing their work! How many fewer common thieves they’d be able to catch!”

I replied, “If the law-enforcers don’t act in accordance with the law, what use are they really to citizens? Police should catch thieves, but can those who ‘beat you to death and dig a hole for you’ still be called ‘police’? If people are fighting each other using my methods, maybe fewer common thieves will be caught, but fewer citizens will be beaten to death in police stations. In which of these two situations are society’s losses greater?”

Mr. Teng is a professor of law at China University of Politics and Law.

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Wu Yuren images from a while ago – Beijing, China

A very dear friend of mine used to come to Beijing every once a month as he was a flight attendant with SAS Business Class. We met around a photography connection, and almost without fail for close to 4 years he would visit us, sometimes just Hannah and I, sometimes us three as a family, and sometimes just with me. These several images were made sometime within the past 6 years, and were at our Huayang Jiayuan home (which we sold in June, 2009). Enjoy!

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Tragedy of ZHAO Wei, murdered by Chinese Railway Authorities-Similarities with Wu’s Case

As this story has been purposely removed from most Chinese news outlets, and has stopped being reported in the international press, I give you the skinny, followed by the translation of the letter submitted by his parents. Shocking and disgusting, there is a plethora of cases similar to this ALL OVER CHINA. At the end I list the similarities with WU Yuren’s case:




*Zhao, 23, a fourth-year student at Hebei University of Technology, boarded the 1301 train from Tianjin bound for Inner Mongolia on January 22, 2011. He sat in Car 12. A classmate and companion sat in Car 11.

*According to Zhao’s classmate, Zhao was taunted by a train attendant over the issue of a seat change. Zhao complained about this matter to the train conductor. *Later that night, Zhao traded seats with someone in Car 11 so that he could sit next to his classmate. He told the classmate it seemed he had somehow gotten on the train conductor’s bad side.

*At around 3 a.m. the railway police came and led Zhao away from Car 11. Zhao’s parents received a call at around 8 a.m. on the morning of January 23, 2011, saying that Zhao had jumped from a building at the Daqing Railway Station and was being treated. Unable to get clear confirmation of the hospital where their son was being treated, the parents went directly to the Daqing Railway Station, where police told them their son had already died.

*Zhao parents asked to see police photographs from the report on the alleged jump — the police said there were none and the crime scene had not been properly secured. The parents asked to see video surveillance footage — they were told the station was not equipped with video surveillance (which apparently is false).

*When family members were finally allowed to view Zhao Wei’s body, they found wounds that apparently could not be explained by his alleged jump from a building.

*All attempts by the Zhao family to petition various government offices in various jurisdictions for further investigation failed.


Petition Letter Submitted by Zhao’s Parents:


Esteemed Leaders and Friends:


We write to you to complain about the incident of the unjust death in the Daqing Train Station in Heilongjiang province of our son Zhao Wei (赵伟), and we plead that you act on our behalf so that this case can be cleared, the criminals brought to justice, and the wrongs against Zhao Wei be redressed.

Zhao Wei was a fourth-year student at Hebei University of Technology. In Tianjin he purchased [a ticket for] seat 045 in Car 12 of the 1301 line from Tianjing to Zalantun [in Inner Mongolia]. One of his classmates was in Car 11.


According to this classmate, after they got on the train, because of some issue about changing seats, Zhao Wei was taunted and ridiculed by a train attendant. Zhao Wei made a complaint to the train conductor about this problem. At around 10 o’clock that night, Zhao Wei came into Car 11 with his luggage and said to this classmate that it seemed he had done something to upset the conductor. He then switched seats with the person sitting next to this classmate. At around 3 o’clock in the morning, the railway police came and asked Zhao Wei to come with them.


When this classmate next saw Zhao Wei, Zhao Wei’s eyes were already black and blue, and his life was gone.


On January 23, 2011, at around 8 o’clock in the morning, we received a telephone call saying that Zhao Wei had jumped out of a window at the Daqing Railway Station and that he was at the hospital being treated. We asked him which hospital? He said the name twice but couldn’t say it clearly. We then hailed a cab and went to the Daqing Railway Station. Police told us that Zhao Wei had jumped from a building and was already dead. (The train arrived on time to Daqing at 6:21am. The coroner determined that [Zhao Wei had] fallen at around 7:20am. Zhao Wei’s train ticket destination was for the city of Zalantun. The time between 3am and 6:21am is lost, and no one knows exactly what happened. Nor does anyone know what happened at the Daqing Railway Station between 6:21am and 7:20am). We asked: How did Zhao Wei get off the train at Daqing? The police said: We don’t know. We asked to see the surveillance camera footage from the train station, but the police told us that the Daqing Railway Station has no surveillance cameras. We then asked to see photographs or video footage from the scene [of Zhao Wei’s death, or alleged jump], but the police said: The scene was not properly secured, and there are no photographs or video. We asked to see Zhao Wei’s body. The police told us now wasn’t the time. At a loss, we waited until the night of the 24th. Some of our relatives came to Daqing. The police drew out and showed us a medical certification from the Oilfields General Hospital [in Daqing], which concluded that Zhao Wei had died as a result of cranial trauma. Only after much back and forth did the police allow us then to go and see Zhao Wei.

Zhao Wei’s body was being kept in the cold storage at Daqing Mortuary. They pulled him out for us to see, and his body was dressed in brand new funeral clothes. There was no sign of the Yishion brand coat and Nike brand pants he had been wearing. (The head of the Daqing Railway Station told us he had paid 2,600 yuan for this set of [funeral] clothing). We saw that Zhao Wei’s right eye was purple, and the cotton in his nostrils was bloody. There were three wounds inside and outside his left ear. There were wounds in two places on his right lower jaw. There was a large purple bruise on his right hip and buttock, and a wound in the middle. There were five wounds on his right groin, and his scrotum had swollen up to the size of a pear. There were many wounds on both hands, and his left wrist bore purplish red marks that suggested he had been handcuffed. Could so many wounds possibly have come from jumping from a building? Moreover, there were streaks of blood on the coat, pants and shoes Zhao Wei left behind. Could these too have come from a jump?


We asked that a medical examiner look into the cause of Zhao Wei’s death. The police said we would have to find a medical examiner ourselves. At a loss, we demanded to file a petition. Only then did the police carry out an autopsy on January 26, and the results left us even more shocked. Aside from Zhao Wei’s external wounds and cranial trauma, there were fatal injuries to Zhao Wei’s internal organs as well. But the autopsy report (刑事技术鉴定书) made no mention of the swelling of Zhao Wei’s scrotum, and we don’t know whether this was an omission or something intentionally left out. There were wounds in so many areas, scars on different parts [of his body], and still this autopsy report determined Zhao Wei died as a result of a fall from a height that resulted in a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage, and a brain hernia that caused massive craniocerebral trauma and death.


We must ask: this nation, a country which [dedicates itself to] creating a harmonious society, and which [pledges itself] to protecting the lives and the property of the masses — how can it not even protect the safety of life and property of an undergraduate student making his way home for the new year? A human being dies without anyone understanding why. And no one cares.


We must also ask: Zhao Wei was an excellent university student, and very intelligent. How was it that he got off the train only halfway through his journey? Why is it that there are surveillance cameras at the Daqing Railway Station, and [the police] say there are not? How is it that the Railway Police claim that they cannot protect the scene of [an alleged] jump from a building within their own jurisdiction? How could photos or video not be taken of the scene of the [alleged] jump from a building? Why were Zhao Wei’s bloody clothes exchanged for new ones before his relatives arrived?


What in heaven’s name are the Daqing Railway Police and the Daqing railway authorities up to? We called the criminal vice squad of the Daqing Police and they said there was nothing they could do. This was the territory of the railway police. The railway authorities in [the city of] Harbin said this would be referred back to [authorities in] Daqing. And for their part, [the authorities] in Daqing have left a hundred questions unanswered.


If we cannot get to the bottom of Zhao Wei’s death, there is the risk that the same kind of thing could happen to a Qian Wei, a Sun Wei or a Li Wei.


We ask that anyone from any corner of our society with a conscience, that they extend a hand. We ask that relevant departments be able to open up an investigation into Zhao Wei’s death, exposing the circumstances of his tragedy before all. Deal with the murderers, return justice to this harmonious society, and hand justice back to this simple peasant couple who raised Zhao Wei all these 23 years. Let Zhao Wei pass in peace.


Signed, The Aggrieved


Zhao Wei’s father, Zhao Tingfu (赵庭富)

Zhao Wei’s mother, Tian Jingrong (田井荣)January 27, 2011

What similarities to Wu’s and others’ cases:


1. Lack of factual information presented to family, also allowing for unbiased investigations;

2. Obvious cover up by authorities;

3. Beating/injuries denied;

4. Lack of surveillance camera evidence, or the willingness to show it;

5. Deletion or refusal to allow the story to be covered in local/national media.


Makes me so sad this shit that happens ALL THE TIME here and NO ONE cares.

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