Chinese Asylum-Seeker's Parents Arrested by Chongqing State Security Police

Wang Jingyu's father Wang Bing and mother Han Qing are detained after months of police surveillance.
By Xiao An
Chinese Asylum-Seeker's Parents Arrested by Chongqing State Security Police Wang Jingyu, who has applied for asylum in the Netherlands after escaping from China, is shown in an undated photo
Wang Jingyu

A Chinese national who fled China after supporting the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong to seek political asylum in the Netherlands says his father has been arrested by police in his home city of Chongqing.

Wang Jingyu, 19, who holds permanent residency in the United States, was arrested by United Arab Emirates police on April 5, en route to Istanbul, and eventually released after calling on the international community for help.

He is currently in the Netherlands, where he has applied for political asylum.

Wang said via his Twitter account on Sept. 12 and 13 that he been informed by Chongqing's state security police that his mother Han Qing and his father Wang Bin had been detained.

One email said his father is being held under criminal detention for allegedly "planning to travel to Hong Kong to foment chaos."

"On Sept. 12 I got an email from a public account belonging to the Chongqing state security police saying ... that he is being held under criminal detention," Wang told RFA in a recent interview.

"The next day, when I called the Chongqing police department, they told me that both of my parents had been detained," he said. "This latest detention isn't the first time my parents were detained."

"My parents have been called in for illegal questioning and placed under surveillance at their home [for months]," he said. "I haven't been able to get in contact with my parents at all."

"I don't know why [they have detained them now]," Wang said.

Wang was detained in absentia by police in his hometown, the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, after he cast doubts on state media reporting after thousands of Indian and Chinese troops faced off in June 2020 at three or four locations in the western Himalayas after Beijing’s forces intruded into Indian territory, according to Indian security officials and local media.

But China denied breaching the LAC near the Galwan River in India’s snowy and mountainous Ladakh region.

Indian and Chinese troops later disengaged from the southern and northern banks of Pangong Lake, in an operation begun on Feb. 10, 2021.

Wang left China while he was still in high school, after he was targeted for making comments in support of the 2019 protest movement in Hong Kong, he told RFA in an interview this week.

"I commented [on social media] that there must be a reason why the Hong Kong rioters, as they were described in the Chinese media, were attacking [the Hong Kong police]," he said.

"Then the school brought my parents in ... and expelled me from the school. The reason they gave was my problematic political views, which were having a seriously negative impact on the image of the school," he said.

Arrest in Dubai

Wang said he didn't think about fleeing China until later, however, when his parents were notified that he could be arrested by the state security police.

"My parents used their connections to send me to Shanghai, where I could get a new passport, because my old passport had been confiscated by police," he said.

"After I got the new passport, I traveled to Hong Kong from Shanghai."

The State Department called his arrest in Dubai "a human rights concern," and U.S.-based activists made representations to U.S. officials in a bid to stave off his forcible repatriation to China.

Wang was freed and dumped aboard an onward flight to Istanbul in a single outfit of clothing and flip-flops, holding nothing but his phone and a passport, just hours after The Associated Press began asking questions about his case, the agency reported on Thursday.

An official source in Chongqing told RFA that China expects its extradition partners -- of which the UAE is one -- to arrest people transiting through their airports.

Wang and his fiancee Wu Huan arrived safely in the Netherlands after a harrowing ordeal in which the pair were snatched from flights and hotels, illegally detained, and mistreated, all the while under the constant threat of repatriation to China.

Wu, who flew out to Dubai to help Wang, was herself kidnapped on May 27 by Dubai officials in the Bur Dubai Police Station Detention Center, where she was held for three days.

She was handed over to the Chinese consulate and illegally held by them until June 8, when she escaped and managed to board a flight to Ukraine.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.


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