Chinese Poet and Wife Arrested for ‘Inciting Subversion’

June 3, 2020 Updated: June 23, 2020

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As the sensitive day of June 4 approaches, on May 30, a mainland poet, Wang Zang, and his wife were arrested from home by the police, and their house was raided. Wang Zang’s wife was released in the early hours of the following day, while Wang Zang’s whereabouts remained unknown. Before his capture, Wangzang’s family was under 24-hour strict surveillance and was followed by undercover police when they went out.

On the 31st, Wang Li (real name: Wang Liqin), wife of the mainland poet Wang Zang, sent a message asking people to help Wang Zang, saying that at 4:30 p.m. on the 30th, more than 20 people came into their house, and probably another 20 to 30 people waited outside. Police took her away along with Wang Zang. She was taken to the police station in Chuxiong and was not released home until the early morning of the 31st. As for Wang Zang, his whereabouts are still unknown. She returned home and found her family’s bank cards, ID cards, Wang Zang’s passport, various other important documents, as well as her and Wang Zang’s cell phones were all taken. “There are four people at home guarding us right now, and there’s also a police car at the gate of my residential neighborhood.”

Ni Yulan, a Beijing-based human rights advocate concerned about Wang Zang’s arrest, said that with four children to take care of at home while with her bank cards taken away, Wang Zang will face a difficult life. Beijing-based right advocate, Ni Yulan: “(Wang Zhang was) arrested along with his wife. His wife was then released. Their home was raided, their bank cards and cell phones were all taken. They have four kids in the family, some are in elementary school, some are still in kindergarten. How are they going to survive if their bank accounts are frozen?

Prior to Wang Zang’s arrest, the family was under strict 24-hour surveillance. There are videos from the 24th and 25th on Twitter showing Wang Zang and Wang Li being followed by multiple plainclothes police officers. In one video, Wang Zang expressed his complaints.

In the live video, Wang Zang said: “You are following me even when I’m just going out for groceries. To the police in Chuxiong, Yunnan, China, we did not break a law or commit a crime. Not mentioning you have been tailing us for months, following us wherever we go. That day we were followed by 8 police for 24 hours. Is this a society based on the rule of law? May I ask, my friends from all over the world, citizens from all over the world, is this China’s society under the rule of law? ” 

Ni Yulan expressed that the CCP authorities began to closely monitor politically sensitive people such as dissidents and human rights activists prior to the “two sessions.”

Beijing Rights Activist, Ni Yulan: “They place you under arrest for “subversion of state power.” But no matter what crime they arrest you for, they always give you extra security. I think this has something to do with June 4th. Now (prisoners) in Beijing are all being watched, they are not free to go anywhere. They are all being watched prior to China’s annual parliamentary meetings. You’ll have to wait till June 4th for them to loosen their watch.

Born after the 1980s and considered China’s youngest critic poet, Wang Zang, whose real name is Wang Yuwen, is the author of several poetry collections. He was arrested in October 2014 for voicing his support online to the Hong Kong “Umbrella Movement” and was released in July 2015. Wang Zang was threatened and expelled by the police while living in Beijing and was forced to move his house multiple times. In 2017, his wife, Wang Li, developed a mental disorder due to stress, and the family moved back to their hometown in Yunnan.