(Beijing) Beijing’s municipal government evicted Wang Quanzhang and his wife, Li Wenzu, nine times in the past month. The couple has constantly changed residences. Recently, they stayed temporarily at a friend’s house but were subjected to severe harassment.
Harassed in the middle of the night
In the middle of the night on May 24th, police asked Li Wenzu to open the door for inspection of the house under the guise of “having received a report that someone was suspected of drug use.” Li Wenzu politely refused the police officers’ entry.
Supposed drug use
She posted about the situation on Twitter, asking for help. “I brought my son to live in the house of my elder sister* Ye (Jinghuan); the officer’s name pronounced Jiang Ziheng (officer number 028646), came knocking on the door, saying that they received a report: the people inside the house were suspected of drug use?”
*Translator’s note: The elder sister is not her biological sister; it’s a term of respect to refer to an older woman.
A terrified mother and son
According to Li, the officers banged on the door for almost 20 minutes. “My child was so scared that he was hugging me while his entire body trembled,” she wrote. “Five police officers from the Guang’anmen police station knocked on the door again and shouted that they wanted to enter the house for inspection.”
Li Wenzu forced to leave
Ye Jinghuan, who provided them with housing, witnessed the situation firsthand. “At 2:52 in the night, I had to call the chief on duty at the Guangwai Police Station and ask him to withdraw the police.” The next morning, Li and her son had to leave. “My heart feels like it’s been pricked by a needle. No matter what, it should not cause any disturbances for the child in the middle of the night!” Ye Jinghuan said.
Wang Quanzhang watches helplessly
Lawyer Wang Quanzhang, formerly a lawyer at Beijing Fengrui Law Firm, represented many politically sensitive cases. He was imprisoned for four and a half years during the “709 Crackdown” in 2015. During the police harassment, he was away on a trip. He saw his wife Li Wenzu’s tweet in the middle of the night. He responded that the police would frighten his son if they broke in through the door. Wang asked his wife to leave immediately with their child.
Police the next morning
The police withdrew. Briefly, the entrance was quiet, and the child fell asleep. However, Li Wenzu tweeted again the next morning. “The police from last night came again,” she wrote, “with zero documentation, let alone a search warrant, but strongly demanded to enter the house for inspection.”
Evicted nine times in a month
This is the ninth time this month that Wang Qanzhang was forced to leave an accommodation. The longest stays were four to five days. Other times, officials or landlords evicted the family immediately, whether it was a hotel or a residence. Li Heping, a lawyer in Beijing is also forced to move often. He explained that the “drug use” suspicion is just an excuse to evict Wang Quanzhang’s family.
Warning from public security
Public security agents spoke to Ye Jinghuan before Li Wenzu and her son stayed overnight. They talked outside her home for two and a half hours, insisting that Li could not stay. “Is my action of letting her live in my house illegal?” Ye asked. The agents said no, but the police had ways of getting Li to leave. Reportedly, the public security officials said the police “will come in the middle of the night to check for drug use.”
Forced to go home
It is believed that Beijing wants to send Wang Quanzhang’s family back to their hometown in Shandong province. The police’s expulsion will not reduce the visibility of Wang’s family. On the contrary, it will only draw more international sympathy and stronger attention to them.
~Gao Zhensai, Special Correspondent of ChinaAid