(Beijing—Dec. 15, 2016) Plainclothes authorities raided the apartment of the brother of a missing human rights lawyer on Dec. 4 and have been holding one of its tenants incommunicado ever since, the lawyer’s wife confirmed today.
In a report given to China Aid, Jin Bianling, the wife of disappeared human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, verified that public security bureau officials raided her brother-in-law’s apartment, possibly to ascertain whether or not it contained any of her husband’s personal belongings. Recently, the brother began renting the space to Mo Xiaowei, a person who has no connection to Jiang. However, government personnel took Mo into police custody and switched off his phone. Since then, no one has been able to contact him.
Jin’s statement can be read below.
China Aid reports abuses, such as those suffered by Jiang Tianyong and Mo Xiaowei, in order to promote religious freedom, human rights and rule of law in China.
Editor’s note: The following statement has been edited for clarity and grammar.
Jiang Tianyong has remained untraceable since his disappearance on Nov. 21, 2016. I, however, have continuously received information from indirect sources. Here, below, is information that I, after verification with prudence, can confirm.
1. A residential premises in the northern district of the Changping region of Beijing, in which Jiang Tianyong once lived, was broken into and searched by public security officers.
The source of information notes that on Dec. 4, plainclothes officers from Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau arrived at the premises with a locksmith. They broke in and searched the property, in which Jiang Tianyong once resided. They also took away some personal belongings. As [I] understand, police have been stationed to monitor the premises for long hours multiple times.
2. Mo Xiaowei, a tenant of the apartment in Changping, which belongs to Jiang Tianyong’s younger brother, was taken away by police and cannot be contacted [to this day]. His apartment has been searched.
Before the 709 crackdown in 2015 [Editor’s note: The 709 crackdown refers to the mass incarceration of human rights lawyers in China, which began on July 9, 2015], Jiang Tianyong occasionally stayed in his younger brother’s home. Jiang’s younger brother lately rented the apartment to Mo Xiaowei, who has nothing to do with Jiang. However, since Dec. 4, Mo’s phone has been switched off, and he cannot be contacted since. A credible source confirmed that Mo was taken away by several police officers as well as plainclothes [officials]. His apartment was also raided. It is possible that the objective of the public security officer was to search [and find out] if there were any personal belongings of Jiang Tianyong, and, at the same time, [keep] the tenant from leaking information.
Jiang Tianyong has disappeared for more than 20 days. We, as family members, have had no channel for any official information. The above incidents suffice to state that the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau is directly related to the enforced disappearance of Jiang Tianyong. I, on behalf of Jiang’s family, strongly condemn the act of enforced disappearance by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, the unlawful search of [Mo’s] home and in particular, the implication of another individual unrelated to the case.
Dec. 15, 2016