(BEIJING — November 24, 2010) One of China’s foremost legal scholars and advocates of constitutional democracy was detained and interrogated by police in Beijing late Wednesday. His detention might be considered the first part of crackdown planned to coincide with the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
Dr. Fan Yafeng, also the leader of Shengshan house church, was forcibly removed from his home at 9:10 p.m. on November 24. He was taken to Shuangyushu Police Station by about 10 officers from the Haidian District Domestic Security Department. He was then interrogated for several hours about allegedly illegally “engaging in activities under the guise of a social organization.”
This is the fourth time since mid-October that Dr. Fan has been taken into police custody. He was put under house arrest on November 1.
This was just two days after a daylong police detention and interrogation, at the end of which authorities released a statement saying, “All activities and Christian gatherings will be banned at the office of Shengshan Cultural Research Institute and the home of Dr. Fan Yafeng.”
As police interrogated him, the questions centered mainly on issues related to the Shengshan (Holy Mountain) Church and Christian Human Rights Lawyers of China — a legal advocacy group led by Dr. Fan.
What was particularly despicable about this latest detention is that officers later returned to Dr. Fan’s home and took his wife Wu Lingling and their three-year-old son to the same police station for interrogation.
They were held until 1:30 a.m. on November 25. The four officers who conducted the interrogation ignored the distress of the sleepy toddler as he lay on the ground, rolling around in agitation and crying loudly.
During the detention, authorities confiscated Dr. Fan’s cell phone and the key to his home. At 2 a.m., he was released. After he returned home, Dr. Fan discovered that his home had been ransacked and that someone had been using his computer between 12:05 a.m. and 1:05 a.m., which was when the entire family was in police custody.
Observers of China’s human rights situation are concerned that Dr. Fan could be treated like prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been missing since April. This incident is only the latest in a series of official actions against him in the past five years that have included kidnappings, arrest, imprisonment, torture and the forced closure of his legal practice.
In another alarming development, ChinaAid has learned from inside sources that Chinese authorities are preparing to launch a crackdown called “Operation Deterrence” to coincide with the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on December 10. During the campaign of an unspecified duration, authorities are to arrest and sentence a total of 20 rights defenders.
ChinaAid is deeply shocked by this news, which only further highlights the worsening human rights situation in China. Beijing is determined to treat the Chinese people and the international community as enemies.
The Chinese authorities have undoubtedly been emboldened by the unprecedented weakness exhibited by the nations of the Western world, which has only encouraged the continued in its obstinacy, unrepentance and blind confidence in itself. December 10, the day of the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony, could be a watershed day: will the Chinese Communist regime succeed — as Hitler’s regime did — in making the righteous forces in the world cower in the face of its terrorizing?
President and founder of ChinaAid, Pastor Bob Fu, strongly denounces the actions taken by Beijing for the late-night detention and interrogation of Dr. Fan Yafeng’s entire family, including his completely innocent three-year-old child.
He said, “Beijing is taking a great risk in toying with righteous communities around the world and in treating citizen groups in China as its enemies. On the other hand, the striking silence of cowardice exhibited by the righteous communities in the world is very dangerous. Surely there will be a heavy price to pay.”
Fu and ChinaAid have become widely recognized as reliable sources of up-to-date information about religious persecution and the overall human rights situation in China. Fu has testified before many organizations, including the European Parliament, the U.S. House of Representative’s International Relations Committee, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
Police Interrogate Dr. Fan Yafeng; "Operation Deterrence" Looming