The Tale of Two Activists

Two stories of people detained in China who then disappeared into a legal morass: The first case, Mongolian activist Hada, has simply disappeared after being released upon completion of his 15-year sentence. His wife and son have been detained and are missing as well. From the New York Times:

Mr. Hada was arrested in 1995 after organizing a rally in the provincial capital, Hohhot, that drew dozens of people, according to foreign newspaper accounts at the time. After his detention, some 200 college students gathered outside his bookstore to sing Mongolian songs and hold up pictures of the Mongol conqueror Genghis Kahn.

Mr. Hada’s conviction, announced a year later, was based on his role as a founder of the underground Southern Mongolian Democracy Alliance, a group that seeks independence for the region. The espionage charges stemmed from interviews he gave to the Voice of America and overseas media outlets.

According to the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center in New York, Mr. Hada’s wife and son have not been heard from since they were detained by public security agents earlier this month. On Dec. 11, a day after Mr. Hada’s scheduled release, photos of the family were anonymously posted on a Chinese Web site, stamped Dec. 10 and labeled “family reunion.” According to the group, the police delivered a DVD with the same pictures — which show the family smiling over a table overflowing with food — to a relative later that day.

“This is illegal and unlawful because according to Chinese law, Hada should be totally free after Dec. 10,” said Enghebatu Togochog, the information center’s director. “Not only are they not freeing him, but they are detaining his family members too.”

And in Beijing, artist Wu Yuren is in legal limbo after his trial was adjourned when the judge asked the see more evidence. NPR reported on his case and the crackdown on dissident (listen here):

Wu’s trial on the “interfering with public service with violence” charge opened Nov. 16, on a bleak wintry morning. Outside the small courthouse on the far outskirts of Beijing, a crowd gathered to bear witness.

Among Wu’s supporters was a bearlike figure in a black beanie hat and a salt-and-pepper beard — Ai Weiwei, another Charter 08 signatory and one of China’s most famous artists. He designed the Bird’s Nest stadium for the Beijing Olympics, but he’s become better known as an outspoken government critic.

“I came to support [Wu] and to witness this very dark case when they just make up the evidence, and the judicial system is not independent and they just try to set him up, the police. This is a terrible case,” Ai said.

Outside the courtroom, to the bemusement of locals, a kind of carnival of injustice was under way. Petitioners — themselves victims of wrongdoing — had turned out, and were openly singing songs of protest, including “Socialism Is Good,” with the lyrics changed to include the words, “The Communist Party has a lot of corrupt officials.”

Read more about Wu Yuren via CDT.

December 13, 2010 2:49 PM
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Categories: Human Rights, Law, Politics