'My Daughter And I Want The UNHCR to Take Us Seriously'

2017-01-03
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Zhang Shufen, who is applying for political asylum in Thailand, holds up a poster protesting the holding of the G20 leadership summit in China's Hangzhou last September.
Zhang Shufen, who is applying for political asylum in Thailand, holds up a poster protesting the holding of the G20 leadership summit in China's Hangzhou last September.
Photo courtesy of a volunteer.

Zhang Shufeng, a former resident of Beijing's Shunyi district, has made a plea for help from Thailand after fleeing China with her daughter last January in a bid for political asylum. Zhang says she is currently being surrounded by Thai plainclothes police at her place of residence, and fears detention and repatriation to China. She spoke to RFA's Mandarin Service from the Thai capital, Bangkok:

At about 8.30 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2016, a couple of Thai plainclothes police came to my home. There was a language problem, so I called my landlord, who is an overseas Chinese.

After the landlord got here, the plainclothes police said that they were acting on a tip-off, and that they wanted to see my ID. The police insisted on seeing our passports, so I showed the passports and our proof of refugee status to the policemen.

The landlord and the police spoke for a while, then finally the policeman said that my visa had expired, and that I must leave, as I had no right to live there any more. If they saw us again, they would detain us and send us back to China.

More than 10 years ago, I and my daughter were beaten up, and my husband was beaten up so badly he was left disabled. We lost our home in a violent and forceful eviction and demolition, and we were homeless.

I have been detained, tortured, mistreated. Our entire family has suffered so much. The people who beat us up have never been brought to justice, because one of them was the younger brother of Yan Zhigang, the deputy chief of police in the Shunyi district police department.

These officials all look out for each other. The Chinese government protected this guy, and instead persecuted our whole family.

We were forced into petitioning for many a long year, but that didn't resolve our grievance, because if you kick up a fuss about official injustice, they just detain you.

After several attempts to lodge complaints, I was detained, arrested and so on, a number of times. I have done time in labor camp twice, been held under administrative detention nine times, and under criminal detention once.

My husband Zhang Deli has been detained 26 times, twice under administrative detention.

We never wanted to break our family up, but we really couldn't take it any more.

We call on the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to formally approve our status as political refugees and protect my own and my daughter's safety.

It's not just about being detained by the Thai police. I heard that Jiang Yefei and Dong Guangping also raised urgent concerns with the UNHCR, but they weren't taken seriously.

My daughter and I would like the UNHCR to take us seriously, so that we can avoid the same fate as Jiang and Dong, who were detained in Thailand, sent back to China, and who are now serving heavy sentences in prison.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

Comments (1)
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Refugee

from Bangkok

I know this people. I hope they now in Bangkok. I understand their problem in Thailand. Me not help all NGOs who need help for refugees. They choose whom they can help - remburse money, take free food. One chineese my friend in immigration jail in Bangkok. I dont know how is she. I tryied help for her - send message to Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and Thai Committee for Refugees, but they not visit her. I think need create NGO in Bangkok for help asian refugees and asylum seekers in Bangkok. Pakistany, vietnameese and others have any organizations who help them.For them help BRC, Asylum Access, JRS and christian churchs. They not help other countrys refugees like China, Russia.

[This comment has been edited by RFA Editorial staff per our Terms of Use]

Jan 04, 2017 10:21 AM

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