Wang Zang (王藏)

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Wang Zang (王藏)

Wang Zang 王藏

Wang Zang

Current detention

Crime: Inciting subversion of state power

Length of Punishment: N/A

Court: N/A

Trial Date: N/A

Sentencing Date: N/A

Dates of Detention/Arrest: May 30, 2020 (detained); July 3, 2020 (arrested)

Place of Incarceration: Chuxiong City Detention Center, Yunnan Province

Background on Current Detention

Police officers from Chuxiong City in Yunnan province seized poet Wang Zang (王藏) (real name Wang Yuwen 王玉文) on May 30, 2020. They accused him of “inciting subversion of state power” and raided his home and took away his personal belongings. Wang’s wife Wang Li (王丽) (real name Wang Liqin (王莉芹) said over 20 police officers went to their home at around 4:30pm on that day while about 20-30 others were guarding downstairs. The police took them away. Wang Li was questioned for overnight and was later released at 3am on May 31. After she returned home, she discovered that Wang Zang’s bank cards, ID card, passport and their mobile phones were taken by the police. Wang Zang was reportedly handcuffed and hooded when he was taken away. Wang Li then disappeared in June 2020 after she began to tweet about her husband’s detention.

On September 6, 2020, information emerged that both Wang Zang and Wang Li had been formally arrested on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” Wang Zang had been arrested on July 3 and Wang Li on July 24. He is being held at Chuxiong City Detention Center and she is held at Chuxiong Prefecture Detention Center.

On October 16, 2020, lawyer Lu Siwei visited Wang Zang in the detention center. Wang Zang told the lawyer that he was angry that his wife Wang Li was detained. He also said that Chuxiong police told him that they would release Wang Li if he would admit to his offense. The police also told Wang Zang that Wang Li was sent to a hospital for treatment as she suffered from serious anemia in the detention center.

Wang’s lawyer Zhang Lei was denied a visit on November 23, 2020 despite providing a coronavirus test result and was only allowed a telephone call with Wang, which was monitored by authorities.

Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture Procuratorate indicted Wang Zang and Wang Liqin on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” on December 14, 2020. The case has been transferred to Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture Intermediate Court. Their lawyer had been notified orally through a telephone call and at the time of writing continues to be denied access to his clients.

Previous detention

Crime: Picking quarrels and provoking trouble

Length of Punishment: N/A

Court: N/A

Trial Date: N/A

Sentencing Date: N/A

Dates of Detention/Arrest: October 1, 2014 (detained); November 6, 2014 (arrested); July 8, 2015 (released)

Place of Incarceration: Tongzhou District Detention Center (Beijing Municipality)

Background on Previous Detention

More than a dozen Beijing police officers took away artist and poet Wang Zang (王藏) in early October 2014, after he had posted a photo and expressed support online for the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. Police raided his home the next day and confiscated Wang’s computer, books, a Republic of China (Taiwan) flag, and umbrellas (a symbol of the Hong Kong demonstrations). According to his lawyer, who was finally allowed to meet Wang nearly three months after his initial detention, the artist was subjected to torture and other forms of mistreatment. Authorities initially locked up Wang at a military camp-like facility, and kept him in a padded room for 15 days and under 24-hour watch, purportedly to prevent him from committing suicide. Police then interrogated him for five days straight, depriving Wang of any sleep. During the interrogations, police forced him to stand and struck him when he fell down. The interrogators tried to force Wang to hand over the passwords for his weibo account and his cell phone. Wang subsequently suffered a heart attack and passed out. Prior to being detained, he had no history of heart disease and was generally in good health. Authorities then moved Wang to Beijing No. 1 Detention Center for the remainder of his 37-day criminal detention and later transferred him to Tongzhou District Detention Center after his formal arrest in November 2014. He was released in July 2015 after prosecutors declined to indict him.

Following Wang’s detention, his wife, Wang Liqin (王莉芹), was repeatedly brought in for questioning by police. Wang Li and the couple’s two-year-old daughter also suffered mistreatment. During one of the interrogations, police illegally detained them in a room for over 10 hours without providing water or food and barred them from using the bathroom. Police repeatedly pressured their landlord to evict them from their home. Due to Wang’s activism, his family has been forced to move frequently.

Born September 26, 1985 in Yunnan Province, Wang Zang is an outspoken freelance writer and artist critical of repressive government policies. His real name Wang Yuwen (王玉文). He promoted free speech and democracy through his artwork and expressed support for detained activists like Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), and also raised awareness for Tibetans who self-immolated and persecuted Falun Gong practitioners. Authorities have repeatedly questioned Wang about his art performances, poetry, and social media postings in support of persecuted activists, lawyers, and political prisoners.

Further Information

Poet Wang Zang Detained by Yunnan Police for “Inciting Subversion”, June 1, 2020, CHRD

[CHRB] Special Coverage: 4 Cases of Torture in Detention (12/26/2014- 1/8/2015)

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