Wang Zang (王藏)Comments Off on Wang Zang (王藏)
Wang Zang 王藏
Crime: Creating a disturbance
Length of Punishment: 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)
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 Li (王丽), 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 in 1985 in Yunnan Province, Wang Zang is an outspoken freelance writer and artist critical of repressive government policies. 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.