People’s Daily Employee Flees to Hong Kong

August 19, 2009 10:17 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 9:30 pm

Qiu Mingwei, deputy director of the People's Forum, part of the People's Daily Web site, fled to Hong Kong on July 30, and is now in Macau. (Xu Xia/Epoch Times)
Qiu Mingwei, deputy director of the People's Forum, part of the People's Daily Web site, fled to Hong Kong on July 30, and is now in Macau. (Xu Xia/Epoch Times)
An employee of the People’s Daily, the main mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, fled to Hong Kong on July 30 to escape persecution for participating in a pro-democracy march. Hong Kong's Apple Day publicized the case on August 18.

Qiu Mingwei began working at the People’s Daily in 2005, and was a middle manager of the newspaper’s Internet forum. He traveled to Hong Kong in late June to attend the International Federation of Journalists’ conference, and during his stay was photographed in the Hong Kong July 1 march, an annual rally supporting democracy and human rights.

According to Qiu, he joined the parade out of curiosity. He told Hong Kong media, “I was very shaken by the Hong Kong march. It is very hard to see such a large-scale march in mainland China. They can even demand the leaders to resign. This is unimaginable in mainland China.”

After Qiu returned to Beijing on July 8, the editor-in-chief of the People’s Forum, the Web site department he works in, told him that the Daily was going to revoke his journalist license and fire him.

Qiu now faces charges for participating in the Hong Kong July 1 rally, possessing internal documents related to state secrets, and speaking to outside sources without permission.

In response he insists that the internal documents were fabricated to frame him, and believes he has been wrongly pinned with political crimes. Higher-ups at the Daily, who he pleaded with for help, told him that the issue has now been raised to the level of “political affairs.” They told him to watch out for his safety and get as far away as possible.

“If you are pinned with a crime and can’t explain it clearly, having a lawyer is useless,” said Qiu, “There are some very simple matters that the People’s Daily raise to the status of political problems—this is really scary. This time, my personal freedom is being deprived.”

“As a deputy director in the People’s Daily, I have the personal right to choose what kind of friends to make,” Qiu asserted, in an interview with the Epoch Times.

According to Qiu, his superiors did not step forward to protect him out of fear of being implicated. Before he fled, a correspondent working under him had already been arrested and had been detained for 15 days.

Qiu was unable to obtain political asylum in Hong Kong, so he traveled to Thailand, then Macao, where he currently resides. He says his wife has begun taking medication to cope.

Read the original Chinese article.