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Video: Six Policemen Came to the Home of a Young Woman at Night and Seized Her for Interrogation [Subtitled]
China Change, August 28, 2018
This 3-minute video has gone viral on Twitter the last couple of days. It’s not a movie; it’s an everyday reality in China that’s seldom captured on record. We, as many people do, know it’s a commonality, but the video somehow sends chills down the spine.
The video emerged on Twitter on August 26. The event supposedly occurred late night on August 23 in Shenzhen, and the police came from Shajing police station (沙井派出所) for this young woman named Chen Guixiang. She’s an average Chinese, not an activist or a dissident. She posted or said something online, and the police arrived to take her to the station for an interrogation.
It appears that she knew they were coming — it’s likely that she had already resisted prior orders from the police. She set up a hidden cellphone and recorded the scene.
On Monday, a reporter from Voice of America’s Chinese service called Shajing police station in Shenzhen. A woman officer who answered the phone said she didn’t know about the incident, and a male officer huffed at the reporter, telling him that it was “ridiculous” to call the police station.
China Change has uploaded the video and provided English-language subtitles. Below is a transcription in English:
[Woman] What’s going on??
[Police] Take your ID out.
[Police] We’re coming in to look around a bit.
[Woman] I don’t have my ID here.
[Police] What’s your name?
[Police] What is your identification number?
[Woman says her name; inaudible]
[Police] You’re the one we’re looking for.
[Woman] Why are you coming to my home this late? What’s going on?
[Police] You come with us and we’ll discuss it.
[Woman] Why should I?
[Police] Because we’re the police.
[Woman] So just like that you can take people away for no reason?
[Police] Yeah — so what?
[Woman] Do you have any identification?
[Police] What ID do you want?
[Woman] Or an arrest warrant??
[Police] We’re not arresting you now, we just want to have a chat, OK?
[Police] We want you to come to the station with us.
[Woman] On what basis?
[Police] On what basis? We’ll tell you in the station.
[Woman] I need the reason now.
[Police] I don’t have to tell you now.
[Woman] So why would I go with you?
[Police] So do you think the three of us can’t take you away?
[Woman] You’re illegally entering a citizen’s residence!
[Police] This isn’t illegal.
[Woman] Then show me proof of this, I’ll take a look.
[Police] What kind of evidence do we need?
[Police, largely inaudible] We’ll take you to the police station and show you, no problem.
[Woman] Why do you want to interrogate me? I haven’t broken any law.
[Police] So what were you up to online?
[Woman] What I was doing online??
[Police] What did you post online?
[Woman] What did I post? I didn’t post anything.
[Police] You didn’t publish anything? Then come with us.
[Woman] Why should I?
[Police] How dare you!? [and says her name, which is inaudible]
[Police mumbling, shouting]: ‘Cooperate, cooperate!’
[Woman] How can you just come in like that?
[Police shouts] Are you gonna cooperate or not?
[Police inaudible; demands she cooperate; says they’re going to take her away.]
[Police shouts] Either you come with us or we’ll force you!
[Woman] What is going on here?
[Police crosstalk] Just cooperate. We’re doing an investigation.
[Woman] I didn’t break the law!
[Police interrupts] You’re not the one who decides whether you broke the law!
[Police] What nonsense did you write online?
[Woman] So many of you breaking into my home…
[Police] Take her away!
[Police] Don’t reason with her!
[Police directs his colleague to drag her out]
[Woman] All of you breaking into the house of a woman, what’s going on here?
[Police] Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.
[Woman] What are you doing?!
[Woman] What is this? How can you do this?
[Woman] I have absolutely no sense of safety.
[Woman] You’re breaking the law!
[Woman] This is against the law.
[Police] We’re enforcing the law, not breaking the law.
[Police] I hope you’ll cooperate with our investigation.
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By Deng Chuanbin (邓传彬), published: June 11, 2015
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.
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)
By Wu Rongrong, published: April 27, 2015
Wu Rongrong (武嵘嵘), though released along with the four other feminist activists on April 13, was subjected to grueling, humiliating interrogations on April 23rd and 24th. Don’t let the CCP machine destroy the very best of China. – The Editor
Fate and chance made me a social worker and a feminist: gentle and timid in appearance, but a staunch defender of women’s rights.
After four years of college social work studies and volunteer experience, I set off on a path of social advocacy
At college, I majored in social work. I fell in love with the ideas, values and curriculum of that major, its concern for society’s most vulnerable groups and its quest for fairness and justice. My Alma mater, China Women’s University (中华女子学院), was papered with images of heroic women who had been tireless campaigners for women’s rights. During my college years, apart from studying the book, I spent a lot of time volunteering at various public interest NGOs. I spent nearly two years as a volunteer at the China Children’s Press and Publication Group’s “Heart-to-Heart Hotline,” and nearly four years as a volunteer at the New Path Foundation’s Big Brother/Big Sister Program, where I served until I moved back to Hangzhou. In addition, I did a variety of volunteer work for other NGOs, pitching in for periods of days or weeks.
In the second half of my senior year at college, a friend who had opened up a bookstore couldn’t believe that I managed to be so actively involved in various kinds of social work while I was still bunking with roommates in a tiny, less than 8-meter-square, 600-yuan-per-month [then about $75 US dollars] apartment near Tsinghua University. But my material needs were few, and I realized that what made me happiest was using what I’d learned to do something of value to society.
In addition to my volunteer work during those years, I also did some personal advocacy, speaking up for the legitimate rights of many disadvantaged people. For example, when I heard about a female student who had been infected with HIV and was being pressured by her college to drop out, I took action at my own college—telling my friends, classmates and roommates to tell their friends and classmates about the young woman’s predicament, in the hope of drawing societal attention to the fact that she and other HIV-positive individuals have a legitimate right to an education. I was involved in many such efforts.
As a young student striving for academic success, I applied for scholarships and grants that required me to obtain certain certifications from officials of my home village. These officials frequently took advantage of the situation to sexually harass me or make me clean their houses for free. As a young student in that sort of environment, I had no advocate or supporter to turn to. Had I tried to speak up for myself, it would have resulted in humiliating gossip and innuendo and made me unable to show my face in the village.
In 2005, instead of returning to my hometown for Chinese New Year, I decided to stay in Beijing and find work. When I found myself in a car headed for Shunyi [a district in the far northeastern corner of Beijing] with a man who had posed as an employer to lure me there, I began to understand just how helpless I was—a weak and feeble woman versus a large and powerful man. Fortunately, thanks to some quick thinking on my part, I managed to call for reinforcements and get away. Like me, all of my female friends encountered harassment when looking for full-time or part-time work. As eighteen- or nineteen-year-old girls, all we could think of was buying a fruit knife for self-defense.
I am interested in public service, not only because of my vocation, but also because of a beautiful misunderstanding. While in college, en I entered university, a physical exam revealed that I was a “healthy carrier” of hepatitis B. Growing up in a small mountain village in Luliangshan (山西吕梁山), I had never heard of such a thing, but the doctor at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital [in Beijing] told me not to worry, I could be 28 years old before I got sick. I took this to mean that I had only 10 more years to live, so from then on, I made a habit of trying to live each day to the fullest, and make sure each day was meaningful.
Why I stood up for Deng Yujiao (邓玉娇) and spoke out against sexual harassment— courage and conviction in the struggle for women’s rights
As a child, I grew up in an extremely patriarchal environment where girls were regarded worthless. Too many times, I witnessed promising young girls from our village forced to abandon their studies and go to work to support their brothers’ educations. My close friend and neighbor, who was one of four children, was only thirteen years old when she left school and started working. After a large portion of her body was burned in an explosion of a fireworks factory, she eventually got married to a very elderly man. As the daughter of a poor family, my quest for an education was hampered not only by severe economic hardship, but also by well-meaning people who tried to dissuade me from continuing my education.
In 2009, when a young sauna employee named Deng Yujiao used a fruit knife to stab to death a government official who had been sexually harassing her, it made me think of the harassment that many of my female classmates and I had experienced. To show our support for Deng Yujiao, a younger female classmate and I put on a work of performance art called “Deng Yujiao could be any one of us.” Although that was over six years ago, during my recent detention the interrogators asked me about that performance repeatedly, and kept demanding to know who or what was behind it. I told them exactly what I’ve described above, and while I don’t know if my explanation elicited any compassion from them, I hope that it did, at least from those with daughters of their own at home. I’m not some mastermind conspirator working behind the scenes to disturb the social order; I just want to call attention to the plight of women facing sexual harassment, and call for more public measures to punish and deter perpetrators.
Don’t cry, friends—you’re not alone
The reason my fellow feminists and I were detained was because of our planned campaign [to distribute stickers with anti-sexual harassment slogans] on March 8, International Women’s Day. But in fact, by March 6, we had already made separate promises to local police not to go forward with the event, and had even submitted our stickers and printed materials to the authorities. The original intention was simply to bring the community together to oppose sexual harassment, and to extend loving support to women who had experienced sexual harassment. Time and again, I’ve blamed myself…blamed myself for getting my fellow feminists detained. I wonder if they, like me, are being treated as political prisoners. Just thinking about it makes me even more upset. Every time I think about it, I worry that they’ll hate me for it.
Several of my fellow feminists were detained a day before I was. Some people, not understanding the situation, asked why I didn’t try to hide. The thought did occur to me, but only for a moment, and then I pushed it aside. I told some of my younger friends, the ones who hadn’t been detained, that I was going to go back to Hangzhou to explain the situation [to the authorities]. I naively thought that if [the authorities] had me in hand, other friends with minimal involvement in the campaign would be released. I naively thought that keeping my friends company would make them safer than if I went into hiding, so I made up my mind and boarded a flight to Hangzhou.
Big Rabbit [Zheng Churan’s nickname] and I were interrogated separately but on the same floor in the evenings. Twice I heard her crying. I worried whether she had a vicious interrogator, or whether she was under too much pressure or suffering too much. At the time, I stopped and strained to hear what was happening in her room. Every day I prayed that my younger friends wouldn’t lose hope, that they wouldn’t feel alone. Sometimes we saw each other, and I wished I could tell them I’m here, I’m staying strong, and just knowing that we’re not suffering alone makes it easier to bear.
Making the best of a bad situation: my creative life in detention
My beauty regime: Of the 38 days in detention, I spent 19 days in a public security bureau hospital. 19 days, that’s all it took to transform my usual sallow complexion into a beautiful rosy glow. The secret was the leftover congee [rice gruel], which I would stir and stir (of course, as I stirred, I thought of my adorable little son, whose current pet phrase is “stir, stir the chocolate”). When applied to the face and body, the pale green gruel not only rids one’s skin of sallowness, it also keeps one’s hair soft and supple. Although the hospital had no “Yumeijing” brand beauty products or good shampoo, still I managed to emerge snow white and squeaky clean.
DIY fashion to beat the heat: During my first days in the detention center, the indoor temperature was kept too high, so I had to get creative by ripping out the stitching of my shirt with my teeth and removing the sleeves. It was a very fashionable look, but unfortunately the shirt was later confiscated, so I was unable to keep it as a souvenir. However, I would not recommend that others try the same, as some detention centers prohibit detainees from altering their uniforms.
Staying in shape by running in place: This is the very best medicine for curing pain and loss. Naturally, when running in place, keeping the arms elevated the entire time is an effective treatment for both neck pain and rheumatism.
The simple pleasures of reciting classical poetry: Before, I was never really able to relax and enjoy reciting classical poetry by heart—majestic lines like [Su Shi’s] “Eastward flows the Yangtze River, washing away all traces…”, or the bold optimism of Li Bai’s “Bringing in the Wine”, or the gentle beauty of [Xu Zhimo’s] “Taking Leave of Cambridge Again.” With such enjoyment, I would feel there wasn’t anything too difficult to get through.
There’s more, so much more. Later, someone will pick up where I left off.
You see, life is beautiful, I love you all, you who give me strength and warmth. You also give me the courage to describe my experience. I believe that, at the end of all this suffering, there will be a rainbow.
(Original title: Don’t Cry, Friends—You’re Not Alone)
Chinese Officers Harshly Interrogated Women’s Rights Activist, Husband Says, the New York Times, April 28, 2015.
Chinese feminist: Long hours of interrogations after release, AP, April 25, 2015.
(Translated by Cindy Carter)
Chinese original (the Chinese was posted in a friend group as a set of jpegs; China Change transcribed them for easy reading.)