China’s missing #MeToo and labour activist pair held by police, family told
- Rights campaigner and journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin disappeared in September along with labour activist Wang Jianbing
- Guangzhou police confirmed they had been detained but refused to disclose on what charges and where, according to a family member
The Twitter account Free Xueqin&Jianbing shared a document – written by Wang Jianen and filed with police in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district – which said officers told him last Wednesday that Wang Jianbing had been taken, but that they did not reveal any other details about the case.
“[We] hereby request that relevant departments notify the families in writing,” Wang Jianen wrote in the form.
He was told to go to the Chigang police station in Guangzhou last Thursday, where three unidentified officers told him to stop visiting various law enforcement and judicial agencies to find out what had happened to his brother, and asked him to keep quiet about the case, according to the Twitter account.
The people behind the Free Xueqin&Jianbing account did not respond to a request for comment. The South China Morning Post could not verify the document.
Friends and family lost touch with the pair on September 19, a day before they were due to leave for Hong Kong, where Huang would travel onwards to Britain for a master’s programme at the University of Sussex on a Chevening scholarship.
Li Xuewen, a dissident writer based in the central city of Wuhan and a friend of Wang, said he was surprised to hear about the detention. He said Wang, a long-time NGO worker, was a compassionate person and tried to keep a low profile.
“I never expected him to be detained, and his family can’t even find him or receive any news about him. The authorities are behaving like bullies,” Li said.
“Wang and Huang are two young people born after 1980 who have been brave enough to make noise and take action [for the marginalised] in the public arena. I think it’s something very rare these days.”
“I feel terrible. This seems to be our fate,” Li said.