Authorities in Beijing have released a disabled dissident, 45 days after he was detained by police over suspected involvement in calling for a “Jasmine revolution” promoting a more open and transparent government in China.
Liu Anjun, 51, released on Sunday, is an organizer for Sunlight Public Welfare, a Beijing-based NGO working to provide medical assistance and other kinds of help to people in need.
Liu was detained on Feb. 18, when online calls for “Jasmine” protests in China had just begun to circulate on the Internet in mid-February, inspired by pro-democracy movements in the Middle East. He was among the first group of dissidents and activists to be rounded up before the first Jasmine rally took place, on Sunday, Feb. 20.
“I was stopped by two plainclothes policemen as I arrived at my building after driving home,” Liu said. “I told them, ‘You don’t have the right to stop me from going home.’”
In reply, Liu said, the police officers ignored his request to see legal documentation, pushed him to the ground, and kicked him as they dragged him away.
The officers also attacked two petitioners who were present in front of the building, knocking an elderly woman named Yang to the ground and dragging her away, Liu said.
Even today, Liu says, he does not know where he was taken.
“Finally, I arrived in a place like a mountainous village, and was locked up there.”
“Police took my cell phone away, and even snatched my monthly social welfare payment from my wallet,” he angrily said.
'Talked too much'
Liu said he suspects he was held because of comments he had made regarding the "Jasmine revolution.”
“During my detention, a police officer from Beijing’s Fengtai District questioned me three times and blamed me for ‘talking too much.’”
“On Feb. 16, I had an interview with Radio Free Asia in which I voiced my support for the Jasmine Revolution,” Liu said.
“I think this was the reason I was detained,” he concluded.
Liu also said that his health deteriorated badly during his detention.
“Tomorrow, I have to go to the hospital,” he said.
Before the first Jasmine rally took place on Feb. 20, scores of Chinese dissidents and rights activists disappeared, including rights lawyers Teng Biao, Jiang Tianyong, and Tang Jitian.
Liu Anjun is the first of these activists known to have been released.
Meanwhile, in China’s central province of Hubei, rights activist Yao Lifa was detained in his own home by police who wanted to stop him from attending a Jasmine rally called for April 3.
Yao said he had suffered similar treatment every Sunday since the first calls for Jasmine protests in major Chinese cities began to surface on overseas Chinese-language websites seven weeks ago.
“What [the police] did was itself illegal,” Yao said.
“This runs counter to reason and to the law,” he said.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA’s Mandarin service. Translations by Ping Chen. Written in English by Richard Finney.