Beijing Activist Wang Debang Interrogated by Police, Home Searched

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Crackdown on Civil Society Continues

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, May 13, 2010) On the afternoon of May 11, officers from the National Security Unit under the Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) took freelance writer and human rights activist Wang Debang (王德邦) from his home in southwest Beijing and interrogated him for approximately four hours. While Wang was being questioned, officers searched his apartment and confiscated a personal computer. CHRD believes that this harassment and infringement on Wang’s rights is part of a coordinated campaign to stifle the leading voices in China’s civil society.

According to Wang, he noticed four unmarked cars parked outside his apartment building when he returned home at approximately 4:30 in the afternoon on May 11. Upon entering his home, Wang found two plainclothes and one uniformed police officer, and shortly thereafter a group of officers arrived with a search warrant. Wang was taken to the Zhoukoudian police station and questioned about his human rights activism while some of the officers remained to search his home.

At the Zhoukoudian police station, police informed Wang that he had been summoned for questioning (chuanhuan), but refused to provide him with a copy of the summons notice stating the reason for his interrogation. Officers at the station also refused to provide identification to Wang. He was released around 8:20 pm that night.

Wang is the third Beijing-based human rights activist to have his home raided in the past two months. In April, police questioned writer and human rights activist Gu Chuan (古川) for approximately seven hours and confiscated computers, notebooks, and personal items from his home. In March, police seized computers and personal property from human rights defender Xie Qiang (谢强) and questioned him twice over the course of two weeks. The three raids appear designed to serve the same purpose: police are seeking to prevent these outspoken activists from continuing to post articles online regarding human rights violations, and at the same time punish them for their human rights activities and pressure them into abandoning their work.

“We have seen ample evidence in recent weeks that the Chinese government is escalating its crackdown on individuals involved in human rights activism and advocacy,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’s International Director. “The harassment of these activists is not isolated from the much larger, more systematic crackdowns on independent groups and human rights lawyers.”

In March, Beijing University announced it would no longer sponsor the Women’s Law Studies and Legal Aid Center, an organization working on issues of domestic violence and discrimination. On the morning of May 7, Beijing human rights lawyers Tang Jitian (唐吉田) and Liu Wei (刘巍) learned that the Beijing Bureau of Justice had formally revoked their lawyers’ licenses in retaliation for their work on behalf of “sensitive” clients and their human rights activism. And, just this week, prominent activist and director of the HIV/AIDS organization Aizhixing Wan Yanhai (万延海) fled China with his family in the face of mounting government pressure on his organization.

CHRD condemns the harassment of Wang Debang and calls for the immediate return of any and all confiscated property. CHRD demands that Chinese officials respect Wang and all other citizens’ right to freedom of expression and association, as enshrined in Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution, and refrain from threatening human rights activists on the basis of their writings and collective work to defend human rights.

CHRD urges the U.S. government, which is hosting the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue in Washington today, to address the Chinese government’s heightened crackdown on human rights defenders and independent groups.

For More Information

“Police Raid Home of Beijing Activist Gu Chuan as Pressure on Human Rights Defenders Increases,” April 9, 2010,

“Police Raid Home of Human Rights Defender and Charter 08 Signatory Xie Qiang,” March 11, 2010,

“Police Summon Activist for Allegedly Drafting Human Rights Report,” January 12, 2009,

Media Contacts

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin), +852 8191 6937 or +1 301 547 9286

Jiang Yingying, Researcher (English and Mandarin), +852 8170 0237

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