Tiananmen Square crackdown

Rights activist sues Anhui police over illegal detention of daughter

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 2:30pm

A rights activist is suing police in Anhui's capital for illegally detaining his 10-year-old daughter after holding him and raiding his home without a warrant last month, he said yesterday.

Zhang Lin, 49, who was previously jailed for leading student hunger strikes in Anhui in support of the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy movement, lodged his case with provincial prosecutors on Friday.

He said a policeman took him to the Hupo police station in Hefei on the morning of February 27, saying he needed to apply for a temporary residence permit because he was originally from Bengbu.

The policeman then detained him and took his mobile phone and keys, and searched his home without a warrant, he said. When he said he needed to pick up his daughter from school in the afternoon, police refused to let him.

His daughter was then picked up by four unidentified men and was taken to the Hupo police station, where she was kept in a meeting room for more than three hours, Zhang said. He said he only saw her at around 7pm, after repeated requests.

Father and daughter were kept together until the next afternoon, by which time she had been held for 20 hours, he said. Zhang is divorced and said no one in his family was told about their detention.

"This incident has had a tremendous impact on my daughter - now she doesn't want to see or talk to anybody and she often gets moody," he said by phone. "That horrific experience has possibly brought irreparable damage to her young mind."

A Hefei public security bureau worker said he had no knowledge of the case.

After their release, Zhang and his daughter were sent back to Bengbu, 130 kilometres away, and are homeless, after police barred them from staying in Hefei. His daughter has been barred from returning to her school.

Zhang was in Hefei to be close to his eldest daughter, who is attending university there. He has been appealing online for somewhere for him and his younger daughter to stay.

Zhang, a writer and political activist, has been imprisoned and given re-education-through labour sentences several times. He was last jailed in 2005 after publishing online articles critical of the government, when his daughter was nearly two. He was released in 2009.