Activist Interrogated and Prevented from Attending Human Rights Training in Geneva

By Deng Chuanbin (邓传彬), published: June 11, 2015


Deng Chuanbin.

Deng Chuanbin.

On May 30, 2015, I returned to my parents’ home at Peishi Township, Nanpei District, Yibing municipality in Sichuan province (四川省宜宾市南溪区裴石乡). My plan was to celebrate my mother’s 66th birthday on May 31, and attended my daughter’s singing competition in school and videotape it.

Around 9 pm on May 30, someone downstairs called out my father’s name. My mother thought it was a customer – my parents run a shop selling supplies for traditional worshipping. She went downstairs and opened the door. Four or five men rushed in, led by Mr. Yao, the head of the Peishi Township police station. They walked upstairs and came to the door of my room where I was lying down in bed, talking with my eight-year-old son. My mother said they wanted me. When I opened the door, they asked me to go with them, and they had questions to ask me. I asked them, loudly and repeatedly, whether they had any warrant. Mr. Yao dodged my questions by saying it was a verbal summons. I said that a verbal summons was only for crime scenes and what crimes had I committed by lying in bed in my own home? I asked them to show their IDs, and a tall, menacing man with darker skin flashed an ID. I said I didn’t see it clearly, reaching out to take it, but the tall man took it back. They threatened that they would carry out a forced detention if I continued to resist.

As we wrangled on, I walked from my door to the balcony where I saw a kitchen knife and grabbed it. But before I turned around, a tall and young man pressed my hand down from behind. I couldn’t move, so I let go of the kitchen knife, but I held onto the balustrade as hard as I could to resist being taken away. As the tall man continued to try to twist my arm away, his arm on top of mine, I bend over and bit him. Unable to drive away the thugs who invaded my home, I figured I was entitled to bite him.

My ten-year-old daughter, who had gone to bed but woke up and witnessed the balcony scene, was scared and cried hysterically.

My mother cajoled me to go with them, and I said they were breaking the law to take me away without a warrant. A few more people from the township police station came with handcuffs. Finally I was subdued by them and handcuffed. As I was dragged downstairs, I heard someone said “Seize his stuff….” I said, “You are going to raid my home too? Where is your warrant?”

Around 9:20 pm, I was dragged to the Peishi Township police station. Minutes after I was placed in the interrogation room, a bespectacled man came in, along with a young man in a T-shirt. They were my interrogators. After they asked me my name and ID number and I answered them, I said, “I want to know who you are, and who is the one recording in writing the interrogation.” They refused to answer me.

The stalemate lasted for two hours.

They took my mother to the interrogation room to persuade me to tell them everything. My daughter and my older brother were also brought to the room, all of them urging me to cooperate. The bespectacled man finally showed me a part of his ID with his position: Deputy Bureau Chief.

The Deputy Bureau Chief threatened me that if I did not talk, I wouldn’t be able to get out of there to celebrate my mother’s birthday, and that they would file a criminal case against me with regard to my biting their people, charging me with obstructing enforcement with violence.

In the summer of 2012, Deng Chuanbin (right) took a Hong Kong journalist to visit Wenwen, an AIDS orphant in Linying, Henan province.

In the summer of 2012, Deng Chuanbin (right) took a Hong Kong journalist to visit Wenwen, an AIDS orphant in Linying, Henan province.

So I told him the activities I had been involved in since 2008. Starting May 19, 2008, I was at various sites of the [Wenchuan 汶川] earthquake to help villagers to dig debris, set up tents, build summer camps, harvest, and build houses, and I did not leave the earthquake zone until February 1, 2010. From March 2010, I was involved in an agricultural project on the site of a high school in Dingzhou, Hebei (河北定州). From the end of that year to the present, I have been a part of the “Rural Red Ribbon” project that helps villagers in Henan and Hebei to cope with HIV infection caused by blood contamination.

The Deputy Bureau Chief expressed particular interest in my trip to Thailand this March. I said I was sightseeing, and he didn’t believe. He said I must have been there to attend training. So I told him I didn’t know any other attendees, because the host asked all of us to use an alias.

The Deputy Bureau Chief was also interested in the “Oral History of Chinese Political Prisoners” that I had been shooting. He asked me where I got my funds. I said I had tried in vain to look for funds, so I had to borrow money. He asked from whom I borrowed money, and I said I couldn’t tell him. He said he and his people could look up my banking transactions.

The Deputy Bureau Chief asked me to tell him about the social activities in Chengdu. At this point, he addressed me as a “dissident.” It was the first time I was referred to by the state as a dissident since I had been summoned during the Jasmine Revolution in early 2011. I said I knew Chen Yunfei, and I had had dinner with people from all walks of life.
The Deputy Bureau Chief also knew very well about my Twitter countdown on days remaining before certain political prisoner would be released from prison. I asked him why I did that, I said, to remind people so they don’t forget.

Around 11:20 am the next day (May 31), I signed a list of objects seized by the police: my passport, my travel permit for Hong Kong and Macau, 4 hard drives with total 4.5G storage, a few SD cards, a 32G SXS card, a iPhone4s, a Coolpad cellphone, a Nokia cellphone, a OPPO slide-cover cellphone, a NewPad a friend had given me, an Asus 2-in-1 tablet, and other miscellaneous items.
At 11:30 am, after 12 hours of summons, I went home. My mother had made lunch already, and we ate together.

On June 1, I accompanied my son and daughter to school. In the morning I watched my son being abducted into the “Young Pioneers,” and in the afternoon, I videotaped my daughter’s singing competition.

On June 2, Mr. Yao, the political station chief, found me and took me to the local Disease Control Center where they drew my blood to test whether I am HIV infected.

The biggest blow this summons dealt on me is this: Home, my home, is no longer safe. Returning home, the authorities have many means to deal with you, and they can turn your entire family into hostages.

The purpose of this summons was to prevent me from leaving China on June 7 for Geneva to attend the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) training. On September 14, 2013, Chinese government also stopped Cao Shunli (曹顺利) from going to Geneva. You already know what happened to her: they killed her.
(Translated by China Change)

Chinese original



One response to “Activist Interrogated and Prevented from Attending Human Rights Training in Geneva”

  1. […] example account of authorities’ efforts to stifle activism can be seen in HIV activist Deng Chuanbin’s detailed account of his police questioning last month, allegedly launched in …. Translated by China […]

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