Guizhou Poet 'Still Missing'

One of China's 'most promising' young poets has not returned after being forcibly detained ahead of Human Rights Day.
2010-12-16
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Undated photo of Chinese poet Wang Zang.
Undated photo of Chinese poet Wang Zang.
RFA

A prominent young poet from the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou has yet to return after being taken from his home last week by authorities, a fellow poet in Germany says.

Germany-based poet Xu Pei, who appeared in a cage at the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair to protest the Chinese government's detention of writers, said that Wang Zang was among those targeted by police in the clampdown on members of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum last week.

"Every year around Dec. 10 in Guizhou, people who care about human rights, including the poet Wang Zang, are harrassed by the Chinese Communist Party," she said.

Authorities detained a number of local activists ahead of Human Rights Day and the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo on Dec. 10.

"This year, we have news that [Wang Zang] has been illegally forced to leave his home, has been held under unofficial detention, and has now been missing for seven days," Xu said.

"We have heard no new information about his whereabouts," she said.

"He was taken away many days ago, but I did receive a poem from him," she said.

Harassed, detained

Wang's poem, titled "Wang Zang's Actions Are His Art," reads in part:

"The Red Terror rises like a flood.
The machinery of tyranny continues its madness.
This natural enemy of mankind sees enemies in everything."

Another line reads:

"If my bones become part of the landscape, may they load a barrel of anger, and a handful of sorrows."

Xu said that Wang was born in 1985 and is one of China's most promising young poets, but that his support of human rights has earned him harassment and detention from the ruling Communist Party.

Guizhou authorities have detained or placed under house arrest at least four activists who planned to hold a conference on human rights in the provincial capital, according to the organizers.

Wang spoke to RFA's Mandarin service on the day that police came to take him away.

"I am in the bathroom right now," Wang said. "There are six or seven of them, and they're going to take me away out of town."

"It's because of Human Rights Day, and also because of the Nobel prize ceremony, so the crackdown this year is particularly harsh," he said at the time.

Event blocked

Last week, activist Mo Jiangang said the event had been planned to coincide with Human Rights Day and with the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, but that authorities had pre-empted it by detaining several participants.

Apart from Mo himself, Chen Xi, Liao Shuangyuan, Wu Yuqin, and Chen Xi were forced to "take a holiday" out of town, though the activists all expected to return home by Monday.

Beijing stepped up pressure on political activists after Liu, currently serving an 11-year jail term for subversion, was named the Nobel Prize recipient on Oct. 8.

It has hit out at the award as an insult to the country's judicial system, refused to attend the ceremony, and put pressure on diplomats from other countries to boycott the prestigious event.

Large numbers of lawyers, rights activists, and writers were also prevented from leaving China ahead of the event.

Reported by Tian Yi for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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