Poet Detained in China's Yunnan After Sharing Video of Hong Kong Pop-Star's UN Appeal

china-deniseho2-071219.jpg Hong Kong singer Denise Ho speaks at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, July 8, 2019.

Poet and political activist Wang Zang has been detained by police in the Chinese capital for showing support for mass anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong.

Wang was taken away from his home in the southwestern province of Yunnan on Thursday by police, who detained him on suspicion of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble.”

He was later released on the same day after questioning by police in Yunnan's Chuxiong city.

Wang had recently retweeted video footage of Hong Kong singer Denise Ho addressing the U.N., as well as a photo of him posing with his family and holding a gun.

Ho told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday that China had failed to deliver on promises it made when it took control of Hong Kong in 1997.

"The Vienna Declaration guarantees democracy and human rights. Yet in Hong Kong, these are under serious attack," Ho said in a short statement to the council.

The Chinese delegation interrupted her statement twice, while Ho went on to call for China's expulsion from the council.

"Last month, two million people went on a peaceful protest march against the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance," Ho said. "This bill will remove the firewall that ensures that the Chinese government can't interfere in Hong Kong."

"The police used violence on unarmed protesters, shooting rubber bullets at them, as well as 152 rounds of tear gas."

"Protect the people of Hong Kong," she told delegates.

"There is still no full democracy, and our chief executive takes her orders from, and is under the control of, Beijing. China will stop at nothing to ensure we never have democracy."

She said China had reneged on the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration governing the handover of Hong Kong Chinese rule, a legally binding bilateral treaty registered at the U.N.

Video, photos shared

Wang said the questioning seemed to be centered around his sharing of the video of Ho's statement, as well as photos of recent mass protests in Hong Kong against a bill that would allow the extradition of criminal suspects from the former British colony to mainland China.

"Quite a lot of people in my friends groups clicked on [these items]," Wang said. "It's very different from the way that the majority of celebrities keep quiet: she spoke for a lot of people, which I appreciate."

"Then there was the question of what she said and her attitude, which was that everyone has to do what they can when the system won't protect them," he said.

The police also took issue with a black and white family photo he posted to Twitter, showing him holding a gun, alongside his four children, whose faces were hidden by their own hands.

"This is a representation of all aspects of our existence," Wang said. "We live in a totalitarian environment."

"I am holding a gun, so I am Big Brother, and I have my hands over the eyes of my eldest son, and he is covering the face of the second child, who in turn is covering the faces of the two youngest," he said.

"And so it goes, down the generations, this insistence that we don't speak out, we don't express ourselves," Wang said. "It shows how dark this is, that we are now under the total control of a totalitarian regime."

Targeted before

Wang, who hails from Yunnan, was previously a resident of Songzhuang's artists' village, and has previously been targeted with repeated forced evictions for showing online support for the 2014 Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong.

He said he was released on Thursday only after pledging not to publish anything that would undermine the image of China, or destabilize society.

"I hadn't planned to be released," Wang said. "I wanted to be held under criminal detention, but I had to consider that there is no one else to take care of the family."

"My old father is seriously ill, and my kids are very young, so I signed a guarantee letter, not to post stuff like that any more," he said. "My family wouldn't be able to cope if I went to prison again."

Wang's friend Wang Peng said Wang Zang's wife Wang Li is currently receiving psychiatric treatment in hospital from the stress of being repeatedly evicted in retaliation for her husband's activism.

"The Occupy Central incident and the surveillance by the state security police put huge psychological pressure on Wang Li," Wang Peng said. "On top of that were the forced evictions, and having so many kids."

"Wang Li has had two spells of mental illness now, and has suicidal tendencies," he said.

Reported by Wong Siu-san and Sing Man for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by Lu Xi and Gao Feng for the Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.


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