Exiled Chinese man faces possible deportation back to China after being arrested by police at the Dubai Airport
Wang Jing-yu, a 19-year-old Chinese man who is wanted by Chinese police after he questioned the number of PLA officers who died during the Sino-Indian border conflict on Weibo, was reportedly arrested by UAE police at the Dubai airport in April and he is now facing the possible fate of being deported back to China.
Wang Jing-yu openly questioned the authenticity of Chinese state media’s report that four PLA officers died during the Sino-Indian border conflict in February and he also criticized the Chinese Communist Party on Weibo. Hours later, police in China texted him and demanded him to return to China within three days. Then his name was put on the list of wanted fugitives.
After months of living in exile abroad, his friend revealed on May 20 that Wang was reportedly arrested by police from the United Arab Emirates at the airport in Dubai when he was trying to transfer for a flight to the United States on April 5. He was then put into a local detention center and now could face deportation back to China under the crime of “insulting religion.”
His friend claimed that a lawyer in UAE has applied for Wang’s bail and the court has approved the application. However, the local police station still refuses to release Wang as they insist that he must be deported back to China. A screenshot of his case document shows that the local police station set up a case related to Wang on April 11.
Repeated harassment and threats from the police
In fact, 20 minutes after Wang questioned the authenticity of the state media reports and criticized the Chinese Communist Party at the end of April, several police officers showed up at his family’s house in Chongqing and began to search his house. “My parents were arrested and kept at the local police station for five hours on that night,” he said in an interview on March 1.
Police continued to intimidate his parents the following two days, keeping them at the police station for more than 12 hours and following them home at night to keep surveilling them. “One male police officer slept with my dad in one bed and a female police officer slept with my mom in another bed,” he said.
Wang said he was able to talk to his father briefly on the phone twice after the police began to harass them. During their last phone call, he said his dad encouraged him to keep living his dreams and he also asked Wang not to return to China. However, since his mom was physically ill at the time, she begged him to return to China during their last phone call. He has lost contact with his parents since the end of February.
Additionally, Wang said police in Chongqing texted him from his personal number and said if he didn’t return to China right away, his parents would face really serious consequences. “They told me on the phone that even if I’m in the US or the European Union, they could still extradite me back to China,” he said. “After foreign media outlets published my interviews, they told my parents that if I keep doing interviews with foreign media outlets, they would detain my parents.”
Since many netizens shared the address of his home in Chongqing and his contact information online, many people began to show up at the door of his parents’ house and knock on their door for days. Additionally, when he turned on his Chinese number abroad, he would receive a huge number of texts and calls that were filled with threats and intimidations.
Even though his parents have been facing a very dire situation in China, Wang said he wasn’t planning to return to China. “I don’t plan to return to China and that’s what my parents want me to do as well,” he said. “I will continue to share the truth on Chinese social media platforms and I hope the information can help Chinese people learn about the truth related to the Chinese Communist Party.”
“I’ve thought about the possibility of being kidnapped back to China by Chinese special agents, but I’m not worried about that. I believe history will remember me and people around the world will remember me.”
Several Chinese citizens being detained
Wang said after he learned to bypass China’s “Great Firewall” through VPN while he was in junior high school, he learned about a lot of things related to the CCP. “I think someone should be sharing the truth with people in China,” he said. “China doesn’t belong to the Chinese Communist Party and it is not a legitimate political party.”
Since he began to share what he learned online with his classmates during high school years, he was called a “traitor to the Chinese state” and he was forced to change schools several times after classmates told teachers and principals what he shared with other students. This didn’t stop him from sharing relevant information on Chinese social media platforms.
“I was questioned at local police stations several times during 2018 and 2019, and the police told me that the reason why I wasn’t punished was that I was still underage,” he said. “They said if I kept doing the same things, the only thing that would be waiting for me would be a prison.”
Before he was arrested, he said he plans to travel to different countries and hold legal protests outside the Chinese embassies in these countries. He wanted to videotape these processes and upload the videos to Youtube or other Chinese social media platforms.
“I want to protest outside the Chinese consulate in Geneva and I also want to plan a global protest campaign,” he said. “I want to share these videos with social media users in China.”
In fact, Wang wasn’t the only Chinese citizen that was punished after they questioned the number of PLA officers who died during the Sino-Indian border conflict online. Since February, at least six Chinese citizens have been arrested and detained for doing similar things.
The piece was first published in Mandarin on DW’s Chinese website.