By Chang Ping, March 28, 2016
Around noon on March 28, Beijing Time, police in my hometown Duofu Township, Xichong County, Sichuan province (四川省西充县多扶镇派出所, telephone: 0086 817 4561065), released one of my brothers Zhang Wei (张伟), telling him that, if he succeeds in contacting me, he should pass on three demands by the police and, in return, the police would release Zhang Xiong (张雄), my other brother.
After lunch in my parents’ home, Zhang Wei managed to get in touch with me. Before that point, police had repeatedly asked my two detained brothers to contact me but, they didn’t have a means of doing so. [During my exchange with Zhang Wei], I told him that I did not believe the police’s promise, but he loudly went on to relate their message. It was clear that our exchange was being recorded.
The Chinese police made three demands:
- Delete the news I posted online, because the police “didn’t kidnap my relatives”;
- Confirm that I was indeed the author of “Jia Jia Was Disappeared for the Crime of Seeing,” and withdraw it from Deutsche Welle;
- Cease to publish any articles, or make any comments, criticizing the Chinese government.
I told Zhang Wei that:
- The police are kidnapping my brothers when they detain them for over 20 hours without any legal warrant. Even if I was wrong in characterizing the event, it had nothing to do with my brothers, and it’s illegal for the police to punish them by association;
- I’m indeed the author of that article, but DW will not withdraw an article just because police in China demand it, not to mention that this is an utterly ridiculous and rude demand;
- Whatever I do has nothing to do with my brothers, and the police should have a perfect understanding of this legal concept.
Zhang Wei kept interrupting my speech to prevent me from explaining myself in full. Finally, I promised that I would delete one post on WeChat. After that he took the recorder to the police station to get my other brother.
Domestic Security police were waiting for him in the police station, where they took my brother away immediately.
The reason the police station gave for detaining my family was that when they went to sweep the ancestral tombs, their firecrackers happened to burn some of the plants and vegetation in the vicinity. But this “offense” clearly has nothing to do with the domestic security police [whose job is to safeguard the political security of the regime]. After they were detained, the interrogation was mostly about me and my work. Given that the case was handled by Domestic Security, it’s clear that it’s a political case.
Actually, from the beginning this was a case of political persecution. After they found that my brother had contact with me, they immediately dropped the pretense.
I deleted the WeChat post as I promised to my brother, but he kept writing me emails telling me that I didn’t delete, and he also said that I must publish a statement erasing the impact of my previous statements and comments.
Perhaps he really didn’t know that the police were deceiving him from the beginning. Or what is perhaps more likely is that he was under police control, and every message he wrote was under police commands.
As I see it, from Party Central media to local police stations, all of them have learned to manipulate their hostages and put on puppet shows. My younger brother has become another Lee Bo of Hong Kong. Look at one of his recent emails. Don’t the police think this sort of performance is extremely clumsy?
“Brother: don’t misunderstand the situation. The police are investigating us according to the law. Please don’t write another article, and please delete those you’ve already written. Their manner of processing the case is normal and correct. It’s you who has misunderstood them. Look: Originally I was asked to go to the police station in the morning to answer questions, but it was our father’s 70th birthday, so they allowed me to go at 1pm. Later you spoke irresponsibly and claimed that we’d been abducted, causing me and our brother to still be held at the station. Only if you delete your article saying we’ve been abducted will they let us go!”
I now state again that:
1) I am blocking the email address of Zhang Wei, and I won’t see any more emails from him; my family members and relatives have no other way of contacting me, and I won’t have any more contact with them for a long time, or perhaps forever;
2) China’s law itself opposes guilt by association. The articles I’ve written have absolutely no relationship with my parents, brothers, or sisters, just like their letting off firecrackers and burning vegetation having nothing to do with me. Police should understand this most basic legal concept;
3) My family members and relatives will continue being brainwashed by the Chinese police, and they’ll think that the misery that’s befallen them is because I don’t care about my family. Some of them have already started cursing me. This will have no bearing on me. Nor do I have any way of making them understand just how despicable and base the CCP is.
4) I will continue to expose everything I know about the vile behavior of the Chinese police and the Chinese government.
March 28, 2016
Chang Ping (长平) is the former chief commentator and news director of Southern Weekend. In January, 2011, he was forced to leave the Southern Media Group, and in late 2011, while working at the now-suspended news weekly iSun Affairs (《阳光时务周刊》) in Hong Kong as the editor-in-chief, he was denied of work permit and forced to live in exile in Germany.
Also by Chang Ping on China Change:
We’d Be Satisfied With Any Government!, October, 2015.