Bao Zhuoxuan and the Long Arm of Chinese Law

Bao Zhuoxuan and the Long Arm of Chinese Law

On October 9,Bao Zhuoxuan—the 16-year-old son of rights lawyers Wang Yu and Bao Longjun—was detained from a guesthouse in Mong La, Myanmar, on the Chinese border, together with Xing Qingxian and Tang Zhishun, two friends of his parents. Bao, whose passport had been confiscated by Chinese officials, was attempting to travel to the United States. Mong La is in a special region of Myanmar that does not require a passport for entry from China.  Bao was then returned to China and taken to Inner Mongolia, where he is currently being held under house arrest at his grandparents’ house, according to journalists who have spoken with a family friend. The current whereabouts of Xing and Tang are not known. Both of Bao’s parents were detained as part of the “Black Friday” crackdown on rights lawyers and activists, and they remain in detention. Michael Forsythe reports for the New York Times:

Bao Zhuoxuan, the son of the prominent human rights lawyer Wang Yu, is now at his grandparents’ home in the Inner Mongolia region, said the friend, Liang Bo, who was planning to host Mr. Bao in the San Francisco area. Ms. Wang was detained in July during a nationwide crackdown in which more than 220 people were summoned for questioning. She remains in custody. Chinese officials have accused Ms. Wang of “inciting subversion of state power.”

[…] Mr. Bao is now in Ulanhot, a city in Inner Mongolia, where he is under surveillance by the police and his movements are restricted, Ms. Liang said in a telephone interview. Mr. Bao’s grandparents could not be reached at two mobile phone numbers belonging to them. A woman surnamed Huang at the office of politics of the Ulanhot Police Bureau said that the bureau had no such case involving a 16-year-old boy named Bao Zhuoxuan. [Source]

It is unclear who carried out the detentions in Myanmar. A local official told the New York Times that the Myanmar government was not involved, but China Change quotes a reporter for Epoch Times “who has close ties with the events,” about witness accounts:

The women owner told the lawyer that the three had been captured outside the hotel and had been brought back to get their luggage and for a search of their room. She also said that more than ten Burmese policemen had shown up and displayed Burmese police IDs.

[…] Other witnesses said that they had seen three people – a young man and two grown men, one plump and one skinny – being taken to the police bureau where they were interrogated separately. Burmese police officers were present at the interrogations, but there were others who were strangers whose identities were unclear. The latter hurled insults at the Chinese, and one of them hit the boy.

But after the second day nobody saw the three Chinese in the police bureau any more.

From the available information, it is likely that the three missing Chinese had been detained by the police bureau in Special Region 4 of Myanmar. [Source]

Eighty-one Chinese lawyers have signed a public statement calling on the government to cease harassment of Bao and to guarantee his safety. On China Change, Zhao Sile writes that police could be holding Bao in order to use him, “as a hostage to ‘negotiate’ with Wang Yu and Bao Longjun.”

See a cartoon depicting Bao being grabbed by the long arm of Chinese law by Rebel Pepper.


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