Category Archives: Updates to the Wu Yuren Illegal Incarceration Case

All updates to Wu’s condition, meetings with Lawyer, media, changes to the scoop.

Calgary woman gets a taste of Chinese justice…

Calgary woman gets a taste of Chinese justice…

By Gillian Steward gsteward@telus.net/403-243-2265

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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Update on Wu Yuren: Authorities Order Wu to Return home for ‘R&R’

Since his parole release on April 3rd, Wu Yuren has spent over a week and a half with his daughter in Beijing, while meeting with the authorities once a week, handing over his passport, and keeping a very low profile.

However, Wu left last night on a train to Jiangsu province to visit his family for 14 days, as ordered by the authorities in charge of his case.

Stay tuned.

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Wu Yuren tells daughter bed time stories …

Wu Yuren and his 6 yr old daughter tonight before bed discussing why some good people can be mistakenly detained by authorities. She is trying SO HARD to understand how and why her baba disappeared from her life for close to a year … priceless to over hear this.

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Wu Yuren and a ‘guasha’ treatment – painted red!?

Took Wu Yuren today for a massage and guasha (traditional Chinese medicine, using oil on back and scrapping with a flat bone tool thing) session and he broke out like some one had slapped red paint all over his shoulders and back! Easy to see how this result could happen, given his beating almost a year ago and after sitting on a wooden bench for 6 hours per day for 10 months, restricted sunlight and no exercise/physical activity. I thought he had died and gone to heaven … Wu is enjoying his time out, helping his daughter with her homework, reading stories to her at bed time, drinking tea for the first time in ten months, and many other ‘firsts’.

Wu Yuren handed in his passport, as per parole regulations, and is still under strict supervision of the court (phone checks on a regular basis). He is still unavailable for comment, interview or phone calls.

Thank you for your support over the past many months.

 

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Beijing: One released, another detained … Important read.

Beijing: One dissident released, another detained

Artist Ai Weiwei arrives to the Wenyuhe court to support fellow artist Wu Yuren during his trial in Beijing, November 2010 (photo/AP)

There’s mixed news coming out of Beijing.

Amidst an atmosphere of crackdown — as foreign journalists face greater restrictions on their activities — the artist Ai Wei Wei, who famously designed the Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics — has been detained since Sunday April 3. Ai, who’s a fierce critic of the government, was in the Beijing airport about to board a flight to Hong Kong when he was taken into custody.

But meanwhile, the detained artist Wu Yuren, whose case was championed by Ai Wei Wei, has suddently been released on parole after being in jail since last June.

Observers say Ai’s arrest represents an escalation in the recent government crackdowns, reaching into the higher rungs of Chinese society. They say the atmosphere in China is the strictest it’s been since 1989’s crackdown in Tiananmen Square. Since Ai was taken into custody on Sunday, police have visited his studio and confiscated computers, hard drives, CDs and notebooks.

Which makes Wu Yuren’s release all the more surprising.

A notice on the blog Wu Yuren Incarcerated reads:

In light of the recent movements and decisions by Chinese authorities, this also comes as a bit of shock: Wu Yuren was released into family custody on Sunday April 3rd, 5pm in Huairou District of greater Beijing. He stayed with family in a local peasant hostel and returned to Beijing earlier today. Wu is out on parole until his sentence is decided and handed down, and is under supervision from the court.

Wu Yuren is in very good health, and is enjoying time with his daughter (who is over the moon!).

In January, Dispatches spoke with Karen Patterson about her husband’s case, how difficult it had been to try to find out information about the charges he faced, and whether and how his trial would go ahead.

Listen to an excerpt from Rick’s interview with Karen, from January 2011

Click here to see a video about Ai Wei Wei’s work, and a personal statement he made to the TED 2011 Conference last month in Palm Springs, California.

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Breaking News: Wu Yuren released on Parole, Still Pending Sentence

In light of the recent movements and decisions by Chinese authorities, this also comes as a bit of shock: Wu Yuren was released into family custody on Sunday April 3rd, 5pm in Huairou District of greater Beijing. He stayed with family in a local peasant hostel and returned to Beijing earlier today. Wu is out on parole until his sentence is decided and handed down, and is under supervision from the court.

 

Wu Yuren is in very good health, and is enjoying time with his daughter (who is over the moon!). Wu is unavailable for interview or comments until further notice.

 

Thank you for your support and understanding.

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Filed under 2011, Updates to the Wu Yuren Illegal Incarceration Case