New Zealand Citizen Tortured While Visiting China

By Sally Appert
Sally Appert
Sally Appert
works with Cassie Ryan science articles China article
August 20, 2013 Updated: August 20, 2013

A Chinese New Zealander reports that he was captured and tortured for five days last month after he sneaked into China to visit his aging parents.

Nick Wang is a 52-year-old former editor of a Chinese newspaper in New Zealand. Since his journalism covered topics the Chinese authorities didn’t like, the Chinese Embassy became disgruntled with him, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Wang hadn’t seen his parents in many years, and he was anxious to visit them one more time, according to the Herald. His mother was 85 years old and his father was 88 years old and ill.

He told the Herald that he had spent the last 10 years applying for a visa to visit China, and all 18 of his applications were rejected.

In desperation, he changed his name to Whakakingi Danzangiin Gonpo and applied again, but they still rejected him.

“I decided that the only way I could [see] my parents again is to enter China illegally, through Mongolia,” Wang told the Herald.

He crossed the border and arrived at his parents’ house in Hohhot. After spending three days there, he was arrested on July 10.

Wang was brought to a detention center where they handcuffed and interrogated him for five days without letting him sleep or use the bathroom, he told the Herald.

The New Zealand Embassy in Beijing was informed about Wang’s arrest, which is required when a New Zealand citizen is detained in China, an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Herald.

“The embassy proceeded to arrange a consular visit to Hohhot to check on his well-being and to extend consular assistance,” the official went on. “If he makes a formal complaint, the ministry can advise Mr Whakakingi (Wang) on an appropriate course of action.”

Wang was sent back to New Zealand on July 15. He decided to consult human rights organizations before deciding whether to file a complaint.

Years before, his articles had upset the Chinese Embassy by covering topics such as the infamous Tiananmen Square massacre and the imprisonment of a Chinese democracy campaigner.

The Herald reported that some people wondered if Wang practiced Falun Gong, the traditional Chinese meditation practice that is severely persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party. Wang replied that he did not. He practices another sort of qigong, he said.

Sally Appert
Sally Appert
works with Cassie Ryan science articles China article