Husband of Canadian Woman Beaten, Held 36 Days

The Toronto Star reports on the detention of artist Wu Yuren, who was beaten in a Beijing police station after going to accompany a friend to file a complaint against the management of the 798 artist district. Wu’s wife is a Canadian citizen, Karen Patterson:

Patterson emerged around noon from the station where her husband was beaten, saying the deputy director had refused comment.

“He told me, ‘I’m not getting involved,’ ” Patterson said.

Patterson wanted to ask why police had not telephoned her within 24 hours of Wu’s detention in accordance with Chinese law, and why, similarly, police hadn’t provided her with a written report indicating why he was being held.

No answers were forthcoming.

Meanwhile — in what human rights activists call a typical tactic — police claim that Wu actually attacked a police officer while being questioned inside the station.

…The detained 39-year-old Wu is a recognized artist who has had exposure in Western Canada: in 2004 he taught a six-week summer program on Chinese contemporary art at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon; he was an artist-in-residence at the University of Calgary in 2006; and he lectured at Calgary’s Nickle Arts Museum as well as the Alberta College of Art and Design the same year.


The Telegraph blog
has more details and a firsthand account from Yang Licai, the friend who was briefly detained at the same time as Wu:

Wu was detained by police over a month ago after a dispute with the management of 798 over an electricity generator which led to him spraying graffiti with black spray paint over several walls of the art district.

On May 31st Wu went to the local police station to put his side of the story but, according to his wife, a Canadian citizen called Karen Patterson, was detained by police and – possibly after a scuffle, or possibly as a result of a beating – was left injured.

…Wu Yuren has been something of a thorn in the side of the authorities in recent months, winning his compensation battle in 008 (during which he was held by police), sending out copious “tweets” and signing the Charter 08 pro-democracy petition that landed Liu Xiaobo 11 years in jail last December. When I met Wu for lunch a couple of months ago, he was clearly nervous, pointing out several clean-cut young men sitting at a nearby table who he suspected were members of the public security apparatus and had been following him.

Read Yang Licai’s statement about the circumstances of Wu’s detention.

See also articles from the New York Times and Global Times.

Read more about the dispute
between artists and property management at Beijing artist districts via CDT.

Tweets about Wu’s case are here.