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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 Yaxue Cao, published: March 12, 2013
March 10 was a warm, sunny day in the subtropical, southernmost city of Shenzhen. Twenty past three in the afternoon, a young man named Huang Wenxun (黄文勋) appeared on Huaqiang Road (华强路), wearing a shirt with the print “Rather be dead than live without freedom,” and holding a big sign, the size of 1 X 1.2 meters. It reads, on a blue background of Bright China logo and his name Huang Wenxun (also Huang Zi),
Do not fear!
Overthrow the Chinese Communist Party!
Overthrow the dictatorship!
Long live democracy, freedom, constitutionalism, human rights, and equality!
Build a democratic China!
We are really the masters of the country!
His plan was to walk all the way to the municipal government. People stopped, watched, and followed him. Within minutes though, policemen emerged and surrounded him. One of the police, according to a series of photos taken by a friend that recorded the whole process, looked nervously outward, apparently to observe the street scene for signs of disruption. After some physical contact, Huang Wenxun was in dragged away by the police.
A Shenzhen-based lawyer Fan Biaowen (范标文) said he had learned that Huang Wenxun was being held in Huaqiang North police station (华强北派出所). He had already contacted Huang Wenxun’s lawyer Wang Quanping (王全平), who would be following up on the matter.
Huang Wenxun is 23 years old, originally from Boluo county, Huizhou, Guangzhou province (广东惠州博罗县). After high school, he worked in Guangzhou while taking classes at Sun Yat-sen University. On March 30, 2012, he and five others demonstrated in the street of Guangzhou, holding signs reading “No vote, no future”, “Hu Jintao needs to take the lead to disclose assets.” He was detained for a month. On February 1, 2013, he was beaten by Shenzhen police while supporting police-turned-dissident Wang Dengchao outside the court where Wang’s second trial was held.
Knowing he would be arrested, Huang Wenxun left a letter to the public, in which he says, “My compatriots, do not fear please. When you witness, or suffer from, injustice, you must stand up and speak out. When good conscience and sense of justice live in you, you are not alone; you are with God, with tens of thousands of fellow citizens. ……The reason I, Huang Zi, am protesting is because I want to let the CCP know this: you cannot intimidate me with white terror anymore, and your jails can no longer imprison my beliefs. My compatriots, I know for sure that we will all eventually overcome our fear, because we love our homes, our loved ones, our children, and we want to bring security to those we love and the homes we live in. It is my deepest belief that love will give us courage, the courage to overcome fear!”
He continues, “… A few days ago, my friend Zhao Haitong told me when we were protesting in front of Tencent: “We want to tell our fellow Chinese how to cure our fear by taking actions.”
On the same day, another young man named Shi Yong (时勇) also demonstrated on the street of Shenzhen. He wore three signs questioning Shen Jilan (申纪兰), a people’s representative for over sixty years from Shanxi province, and calling for officials to disclose their assets. He too was arrested.
Huang Wenxun and Shi Yong are among the small number of Chinese who are taking actions. This blog will bring the latest development about them to our readers. I thought as I wrote this post: Huang Wenxun is 23 years old, born right around 1989, and of the same age as those in the Tian’anmen Square 23 years ago. Another generation has grown up from the ashes of the ’89 era, yet China is still not free. The least we can do is to stand with him, make sure that the Chinese government does not succeed in throwing him in jail and that he and his friends are free to speak their mind. If the Party does not like their messages, then it’s time for the Party to change, or face the masses.
Wang Dengchao (王登朝), a police officer at Luohu Sub-bureau of Shenzhen Public Security Bureau (police ID 054985), was arrested on March 8, 2012 on charges of embezzlement and disruption of public services. After being detained for 8 months, he was tried and sentenced to 14 years in prison on December 4th, 2012.
But he is believed to be arrested and harshly sentenced for attempting to organize a large-scale assembly to commemorate the 87th anniversary of Sun Yat-sen’s death, to be held in Lianhua Hill Park in Shenzhen on March 10th, 2012. Friends and family said Wang Dengchao had taken out a 500,000 loan from bank for the event. He made T-shirts and banners, and hired people to distribute flies and other promotional materials. He also asked friends to give speeches during the assembly. He had foreseen the possibility of being arrested, but he believed that if the event was held as planned, it would be worth it.
Turning People’s Republic of China back to the Republic of China (民国), or the pre-1949 era, has been a strain in China’s democratic thinking and activism.
Charges against Wang Dengchao have to do his involvement in the security of Universiade (World University Games) held in Shenzhen in 2011. At the time he was the manager of the 7th Company of Shenzhen Security Service Company (深圳保安公司).
During the first trial Wang Dengchao’s lawyers argued that the prosecutors’ charges were unfounded, and there were no evidence to prove Wang Dengchao was guilty of either charge.
Wang Dengchao’s case has not received enough media attention so far, partially because charges against him were non-political. But the Chinese government seems to be using a new strategy lately to punish dissidents without making them “political prisoners” by trumping up other charges against them. Li Bifeng’s case is one of the latest examples.
According to friends, Wang Dengchao is 38 years old and a graduate of Northwest University of Politics and Law (西北政法大学). Friends said he often expressed disapproval of China’s political system and how it was the root of China’s social ills. He had made and distributed fliers and brochures before to promote democratic ideas.
His friends said that, as a mid-level police officer, Wang lived a comfortable life, but, unlike most of his colleagues who used their power for personal gains, Wang was a conscionable man who wanted to take actions to advocate for change of system.
Originally, the second trial was scheduled on February 1, but defense lawyers had not been informed of the trial date at least three days prior to the trial according to the law. The trial is now rescheduled for February 7 following protests by the defense lawyers.
Meanwhile, local activists were summoned and interrogated by police. The guesthouse where Wang Dengchao’s lawyers stayed was “inspected” and their visitors were questioned. Faraway in Guangxi, Wang Dengchao’s mother-in-law was warned not to communicate with others about Wang’s case.
The second trial will be held at 10am, February 7, 2013, in criminal trial area of Shenzhen Intermediary People’s Court (深圳市中级人民法院), located at深圳市罗湖区红岭中路1036号. Postal code 518008 and telephone 0755—83535000.
The defense lawyers can be reached at: 李静林律师 13693283418, 唐吉田律师 13161302848. Wang Dengchao’s wife can be reached at 18898738510.
As the U.S. continues to grapple with what the Supreme Court decision last week will mean for their health care coverage, China has begun to experiment with their own reforms. In the U.S. our policies left millions without health insurance, and individuals struggled with bankruptcy and chronic illnesses. In China, the situation has deteriorated to a point where patients stab their doctors, hospitals have police stations, and demonstrations are held several times a month in front of the public hospital where I work.
The reforms being tried in all of Shenzhen’s public hospitals and one of Beijing’s look to address one of the key underlying issues – over prescription. When China’s health care system began to fall apart in the 1980’s, hospital’s turned to selling drugs to make up for their losses in gov’t funding and drug sales came to make up over half of hospitals’ revenues. This in turn has almost completely destroyed the trust between patients and doctors, with patients assuming that any medication suggested by their doctor might just be a scam and doctors fearing retribution from patients and their families. This reform looks to remove the profit from selling prescription drugs and makes up for the losses with higher consulting fees (which I have long argued are too low; you can see two doctors at my hospital for the cost of taking a taxi, or three doctors for the cost of a double cheeseburger meal at McDonalds).
This I believe is exactly the direction Chinese health care should be moving in, as it should help restore the trust between doctor and patient (collecting cash filled envelopes from patients and drug companies are two other factors that will need to be addressed). As the People’s Daily story reports, Beijing residents’ health insurance will cover the bulk of the consultation fees, and the cost of medicines have dropped roughly 7 yuan per inpatient, and 235 yuan per outpatient according to Shenzhen’s committee for health, population and family planning (my hospital sees over 2 million outpatients a year, so this is a substantial savings for the public). Patients interviewed for the story reported a savings on medicines from 40-80 yuan, this should be a great financial relief for those suffering from chronic diseases. This will also hopefully reduce the abuse of antibiotics that have been creating increasingly drug resistant illnesses.
This step though, is really only beneficial to the people who live in Shenzhen and Beijing, as everyone else is excluded from their local insurance systems. This is an especially large concern in Beijing because many people from other provinces journey to the capital for health care. For them the cost remains roughly unchanged, which was already considered too expensive*, and means that they will either rely on what is largely substandard healthcare in their hometowns or go untreated (which create greater social costs if it is a communicable disease).
Further more migrant workers who lack a hukou will be greatly affected, since it is impractical to return home for health care and too costly to see a doctor, and the result will likely be an increase in illegal clinics. These clinics feature unknown drugs, poor hygiene and staff without medical training; these are the kinds of places that reuse needles and spread disease. Just yesterday People’s Daily reported that a 2-year-old child died in an illegal clinic in Beijing over the weekend. The clinic where the child died was known to the police, the owner had been previously punished for illegally practicing medicine, but they failed to close the facilities. PD also reported that Beijing had an estimated 1,200 illegal clinics as of 2009. A migrant worker interviewed for that story said, “Medicine is relatively cheap at illegal clinics. Public hospitals are expensive for us and it’s not easy to get registered in the hospitals.”
So while this reform is one step that needs to be taken to restore trust in the system, without further reforms it places additional pressure on rural residents and migrant workers increasing the already gaping chasm between the social benefits these groups receive. To paraphrase what an administrator told me, “it is ridiculous to try and create a modern health care system without a modern, national insurance system.” She hopes China will expand insurance options and open up private health insurance systems, even after seeing the mess they created in the U.S. In her view, they would spark the competition needed to cause the bigger reforms in the system. She added that China is a developing country and that it will take time to change the health care system, China’s patients though have already run out of patience.
*My OTC allergy medication costs more in China ($.33 per pill) than in the U.S. ($.04 per pill)
Yesterday we looked at a few of the pros and cons of rural life, today we’ll be looking at the development plan for this region.
“China is a large country with a large population,” seemed to be the catch-all excuse for much of the poverty we saw as we traveled through rural parts of a central Chinese province.* While I generally find it an unconvincing dodge, the remoteness of this region lead me to contemplate how it could ever be prosperous. Many of China’s remote regions were settled exactly because they were so difficult to reach, offering minority groups and small clans protection from outsiders. But now that trade and manufacturing are the base of China’s growth, these rural places have been left behind. One village we visited was located on what was essentially a cliff that could hold no more than a few dozen homes. They farmed in the narrow valley below, growing mostly rice and corn for their own consumption.
It’s difficult to imagine a way for such a remote place to prosper; in the US it would have been turned into a nature reserve long ago.
The local gov’t officials told me that their current plan was to try to grow tourism. Given that the “city” (that managed the tiny village) was located on a narrow two-lane road, it seemed like a more realistic vision than expanding heavy industry or manufacturing. Currently the region is mostly cash crop farming, with a few cement plants and a handful of mining operations. These industries though are quickly cannibalizing the mountains that the new plan relies on.
It seems though that tourism has become the focus of every small town in China. While this region did have some spectacular views, the closest airport was two hours away and is already seated in an area that has world famous scenery and well developed infrastructure for tourists. The city I was visiting only offered scenic drives on rough dirt roads. Furthermore, every city between this small one and that tourist hub was focusing on tourism too.
It seems that 10 years ago, as domestic tourism was just starting to grow, the entry cost was much more attractive to farmers and villagers, and many decided to build small restaurants and guest houses. Now when you pass these places you see dozens of worn down, empty hotels standing in the shadows of big shiny new ones. Domestic tourists have much higher standards now and are uninterested in staying in what the villagers can afford to build (Jeremiah Jenne wrote a great post that explored a few other angles of tourism).
It’s also important to note that even though there are more and more domestic tourists, many of them have very little time and money for travel. When I talk with my Chinese friends about the vacations I have taken to the countryside, I’m often met with confused looks. Why would I ever visit a poor area when I could just as easily see a rich one? Why would I visit some county no one had heard of when a famous one was nearby? Chinese tourists seem to put a very high value on checking well-known sites off their lists as travel is very much a status symbol (Evan Osnos’s hilarious account of traveling with a Chinese tour company to Europe).
Additionally, this area lacked most of the key ingredients for becoming a tourist hot spot – It was not the site of an important ancient city or religious site, and had no preserved old town like Lijiang or Xi’an (but they were planning on building a new old town at the villagers expense, like many other cities in China); it did not have “famous” scenery, meaning that it was not a destination for poets or painters of the past; and it is still too rustic to attract those seeking something more luxurious like Shenzhen or Shanghai. I worry that the hundreds (thousands?) of villages seeking to develop tourism will fail at massive costs to their villagers.
Other tourist spots, like those in the quake effected parts of Sichuan, have seen a boom in the number of visitors, but have noted that few of them spend money while passing through. As a reporter from the Global Times stated,
“Each day, thousands of visitors come to see the ruined Xuankou Middle School and leave flowers, but they depart quickly.
As most of these spots lie outside the main residential areas, most visitors do not come into the center of town and see the newly reconstructed earthquake-resistant buildings. What’s worse, they do not participate in the economy.”
Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that the more prosperous villages I’ve visited aren’t focused on tourism, they are focused on cash crops and adding further value to the raw goods they are producing (like milling wheat and using the flour to make frozen mantou to sell throughout China, or growing kiwis and bottling the juice). It’s as if China has leapt from one rural development model to the next without much thought of how it would actually work.
Next week we’ll be looking at some of the projects I visited on this trip and discussing the state of the rural church.
*I’m being intentionally vague here.
The following is a guest post from a friend who writes on her blog ChinaB.org
My Chinese friend turned to me the other day and said “What time is it? I got a plane to Shenzhen to catch.”
“Shenzhen? What are you doing going there on a Sunday night?”
She looked suddenly embarrassed and told me quietly that she was taking a PhD qualifying exam for someone. The first question that came to mind was why?; why this thirty-some-year-old was being flown out to Shenzhen to take a PhD exam. I have known her for two years, and she is a very kind and curious woman, but by no means a mover and shaker. Her English is pretty good, and if she had any other hidden talents, she kept them very well hidden.
“There is an English part to the exam, but it’s on a couple of different subjects. The girl I’m taking it for is overseas at grad school and can’t come back to China just for the test. My company [a study abroad facilitator who sends Chinese students overseas] helped her get into grad school, so her father asked my boss if he had any employees who could take the PhD test for her. I look the most like her, so he interviewed me then said I could do it.”
Moral quandary aside, I was a bit worried for both parties. Could she pass the test? What if she didn’t?
“He’s already paying for my flight and giving me 5000 RMB.”
Well, that’s not a little money.
She flushed in embarrassment again. “My father’s giving me a lot of pressure to make money, he says I’m underpaid and I need to step up, so whenever I can find a side gig, I take it.”
I smiled to show I wasn’t judging her. She is beyond the reasonable marriageable age (after 27 in China you’re “leftover,” not to mention 30). She worked overtime regularly to get Chinese students into schools in America, Australia, and England, but had never left the country herself.
“He also said if it goes well, his company could use an English interpreter when they go overseas. They’re going to Germany in the fall and I’d love to go.”
In America, there is a direct correlation between a student’s SAT score and his/her father’s income. It is undeniable that the top SAT scorers tend to come from environments that speak standard English, promote intellectualism and hard work, and/or have enough money to hire a tutor. So the US has its own set of systematic pulleys and levers that propel some while restraining others. For China, this system is also true, and then some. After living through a turbulent modern history, surviving famines, political crusades, and the destruction of religion, there is little platform for anti-cheating ethics. Many Chinese would not even call this a case of cheating, but rather a case of someone being well-off enough to afford a good education.
And as for my friend, I sincerely hope she does pass the test and get to go to Germany. It is hard to hold her morally accountable when, as she said, “If I don’t do it, he’ll find someone else who can.” Her saying no to the job would have caused more trouble than taking it on; her boss would have been angry, possibly lost face and business, and the possibility of strong connections and future opportunities would have been nixed. From her point of view, there is nothing to be gained by turning down the offer.