Sun, Apr 26, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Freed Chinese activist says she was abused

STILL SUSPECTS:Released after 37 days in custody for interrogations, five Chinese women’s rights advocates remain the subjects of ongoing criminal investigations


One of five leading Chinese feminist advocates said she went through lengthy and verbally abusive interrogations after she was conditionally released in a case that has attracted international attention.

Wu Rongrong (武嶸嶸), a 30-year-old advocate for women’s rights, said in a statement released yesterday that she endured an eight-hour police interrogation in a hotel room in Hangzhou. She said her interrogators insulted her at length, calling her selfish and ungrateful and telling her that she brought shame to social activists.

“I finally walked out of the horrible Room 226 at 10:30pm,” Wu wrote. “In cold winds, I was full of tears. I felt both my body and my mind were near collapse. I didn’t know my way home. I was helpless and scared.”

Wu could not be reached, as she was banned from speaking to the media, but her lawyer, Lu Zhoubin, confirmed the statement’s authenticity.

A policeman who Wu alleged was involved in her interrogations declined to be interviewed, and Beijing police did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comments.

Wu and four others were detained last month, just ahead of International Women’s Day, as they were planning to hand out stickers and flyers against sexual harassment in several Chinese cities.

The detentions of Wu, Li Tingting (李婷婷), Wei Tingting (韋婷婷), Zheng Churan (鄭楚然) and Wang Man (王曼) drew an unusual amount of attention overseas. Foreign governments, rights groups and luminaries, including former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, criticized the arrests as an overreaction by a repressive Chinese government.

The women were released after 37 days without any formal charge, but they remain criminal suspects. Foreign governments and rights groups have been urging Chinese authorities to drop the investigations.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded by saying that the investigations are an internal judicial affair, which foreign entities should not interfere with.

Lu Jun (陸軍) of the non-governmental organization Beijing Yirenping Center said the police acts against Wu were unethical.

Wu’s lawyer said Wu is obligated to answer to summons for police interrogations, but argued that Wu and others are innocent.

“The charge against them stems from an activity that did not occur at all,” the lawyer said.

He said Wu also was ill-treated while in detention when her medicine was withheld for days and when she was forced to sleep on the floor.

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