Chinese Artist Kidnapped, Told to Leave Beijing Artists' Village

Hua Yong has been threatened with worse to come from 'stability maintenance' teams if he doesn't leave the capital.

Chinese artist Hua Yong is shown in an undated photo.

Authorities in Beijing on Monday tried to evict an artist from his home in the city's Songzhuang Artists' Village, breaking into his house and using threats to force him to leave following nearly two weeks under house arrest.

Songzhuang Artists' Village resident Hua Yong said unidentified men who had been watching him and preventing him from going anywhere during the ruling Chinese Communist Party's 19th national congress smashed in his door in the early hours of Monday morning.

"I heard a huge banging noise in the early hours of this morning," Hua said. "The people who had been guarding me had come back, and they told me to go outside."

Hua, who in 2012 was sent to labor camp after engaging in performance art near Tiananmen Square on the anniversary of the 1989 massacre, said the same men had tried to intimidate him into leaving his home on Saturday.

"In the early hours of Saturday morning, about 4.00 or 5.00 a.m., some great big thugs dragged me out of my home and took me down to a patch of waste-ground about 50 kilometers from my house," Hua told RFA.

"They wanted me gone from Songzhuang Village within two months," he said. "Then a good friend of mine drove me back to Songzhuang."

Hua said he hadn't done anything wrong, and doesn't understand why he should leave.

"I haven't broken any laws, and yet I have mafia types threatening me like this," he said. "I reported it to the police, but they didn't send anyone."

House arrest

He said he hadn't been allowed to leave his home throughout the 19th party congress, which ended last week, and friends have been delivering food to him.

"They didn't give any reason; they just said I couldn't remain in Beijing," Hua told RFA. "They said that if I stayed here, I'd come under huge pressure from the stability maintenance regime here."

He said he believes the men are being hired by village stability maintenance officials, the local police, and the state security police.

"The state security police came here in a van that was able to block my cell phone," Hua said. "So they're bringing out the heavy guns."

Repeated calls to Mai Lijun, head of the state security police in Tongzhou county, which administers Songzhuang, rang unanswered during office hours on Monday.

Critics silenced

Hua was detained in 2012 alongside fellow artist Guo Zhenming after giving himself a bloody nose and using the blood to write the numbers "6,4" on the paving stones, denoting the date, June 4 [1989].

He said he wanted to honor the souls of those who died in the bloodshed.

Rights activist Jiang Jianjun said many outspoken critics of the regime have been effectively silenced after the authorities interfered with their living accommodation and livelihoods.

"I have been the target of this kind of harassment, too," Jiang said. "I think there are times when it pays to stand up to it, but there are also times when compromise is a good idea."

"Sometimes, there's nothing you can do ... because, as individuals, we are weak."

Reported by Yang Fan for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Wong Siu-san and Tam Lee for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.