Activists planning to investigate the alleged suicide death of the father of Shandong activist Xue Mingkai were rounded up in a late Monday night police raid, questioned, then sent back home. Others evaded the police and will continue investigating, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA).
Dissatisfied with the official security department verdict of “suicide” in the mysterious death of Xue Fushun, who allegedly jumped from the fourth floor of Qufu Municipal Procuratorate, activists from all around China met in Shandong.
Xue and his wife Wang Shuqing had been detained by authorities in a black jail in an attempt to force their son, the democracy activist Xue Fushun, to return home, according to an account pieced together by Human Rights in China (HRIC). On Jan. 29 the pair escaped the jail and sought protection at the Procuratorate. Security caught up with them and separated the two. Later that night Wang was told her husband had committed suicide.
The activists determined to investigate what happened that night were staying in a guesthouse in Qufu City when they were raided.
“There was a loud banging on the door of our room, and sounds of a lot of footsteps in the corridor,” activist Jia Pin, who was staying in the guesthouse at the time, told RFA.
“It was the police,” he continued, saying that at first, he thought it was an identity check.
Activist Qian Jin from Anhui province was traveling with a second group when they tried to call those already in Qufu. He told RFA that they heard sounds of a scuffle and words like “don’t snatch my cell phone,” then the calls were cut off.
All fourteen activists at the guest house were taken to a police station, where they were briefly held and questioned, then sent back home.
Many of those activists put on trains planned to get off just outside Qufu to go back into the city.
“The next step is that we will move separately,” said one activist, Wei Xiaobing. The second group of activists who were traveling to Qufu split up to avoid detection by the police.
“Today, it looks as if about 20 people will arrive, bit by bit,” Jia Pin told RFA.
Activist and China Democracy Party member Xue Mingkai, has been in hiding since his release from prison in September 2013, after serving four years for “subversion of state power” and “inciting subversion of state power.”
Like Chen Guangcheng
Beijing-based rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong met with Xue Mingkai at a secret location on Sunday, and in a statement on Tuesday compared the situation to that of activist Chen Guangcheng.
“It’s the same attitude as when they arrested Chen Guangcheng, Chen’s mother, and his wife Yuan Weijing,” Jiang told RFA. Chen was kept under house arrest along with his wife and young daughter for more than 18 months before he escaped in May 2012.
“He has no plans to return to Qufu for the time being,” Jiang said. “The fact that they have taken the hard line of arresting his mother shows that you can’t reason with them.”
“If Xue Mingkai were to go back now, he’d be ‘disappeared.’ He is safe now, or he was safe yesterday,” he added.
Xue’s mother, Wang Shuqing, is being held under soft detention after stating in an open letter on the HRC website that she believed her husband’s death should be investigated thoroughly, reported HRIC.
“This case involves an unnatural death. Many people suspect that it was premeditated murder,” said family lawyer, Tang Jitian, in a telephone interview with Reuters.
A third group of activists who were searching for Wang Shuqing last Saturday were picked up police from Shandong and Beijing, and fellow activists say they do not know where that group is being detained.