Shandong Police Search Professor's Home, Confiscate Computer
In the afternoon of May 26, under the pretext of “conducting an investigation into computers,” more than ten policemen from Shandong Province, China, barged into Shandong University Professor Sun Wenguang's residence and conducted a house search. They confiscated two computers belonging to Sun and abducted him to the Shandong University police station for interrogation, which lasted over three hours.
Sun has published articles on Web sites many times criticizing the Chinese communist regime's suppression of Falun Gong, and he supports the hunger strike movement initiated by attorney Gao Zhisheng.
During an interview on May 27, Sun Wenguang narrated the course of events leading up to the search.
Recently, Sun has continuously published articles on overseas websites. On May 25, the Epoch Times website published his article titled “Tiananmen Massacre, May 18 movement in Korea and the Olympics” in memory of the June 4th Tiananmen Democratic movement in 1989. The following day on May 26, a group of policemen came to his residence. More than ten police officers arrived and charged into his home claiming to conduct an investigation into computers. When Sun asked for a search warrant, they replied they had none.
During the 30 minutes of searching the home, a few policemen took pictures of every nook and corner of the residence. They confiscated two computers and 28 diskettes and took Sun to the Shandong University's police station where he was interrogated for over three hours.
Police questioned Sun on what sort of articles he wrote, the names of overseas websites where he published his articles, the number of articles he published, the titles of these articles, how he sent his articles to be published, etc. Sun said that he answered all their questions.
Finally the police took out three of his articles published on the Epoch Times website and asked for an explanation. The articles written in Chinese are titled “A suggestion to amend the Chinese constitution to remove the Communist party leadership” (published on March 1, 2006), “Did Jiang Zemin violate the Chinese constitution and betray the country?” (published on September 7, 2004), and “A preface to the book: The cause of a nation's hundred years of calamity – from Mao Zedong to Jiang Zemin” (published on August 14, 2004).
Sun expressed his strong protests against this harassment and encroachment upon a citizen's personal freedom by Jinan City's Licheng police station branch [Editor's note: Jinan City is the capital of Shandong province]
He said, “First of all, as a citizen, I have the freedom of communication. Computers are a modern communication tool. Taking away my computers and 28 diskettes is, by itself, a violation of a citizen's right to freedom of communication stipulated by the constitution. This is an invasion of my personal rights.
“Secondly, citizens have the freedom to publish their opinion. You cannot deprive my right to express my views just because my view is different from yours. Taking away my writing and communication tool is illegal.
“Thirdly, the computers contain records of my personal diary, it is my privacy. By taking the computers away, they are certainly going to read it and find things in it. This approach is very similar to what happened in the Cultural Revolution. During the Cultural Revolution, my home had been searched and my properties confiscated many times. Each time, the red guards came in, went through my belongings at random and took whatever they wanted. It is absolutely lawless.
“I was sentenced to seven years in prison during the Cultural Revolution because they stole my diary and charged me with a crime they made up from my diary. Isn't what they are doing now the same as that in the Cultural Revolution? On what basis can you charge into my home in broad daylight to take computers and diskettes away? I told them they were my personal property and personal belongings. What made you think you can take them away? A policeman said they will return the items back to me in a couple of weeks. Is this kind of behavior any different from robbery?”
When the police wanted to take him away, Sun said, “I am not going. If you have any questions, ask me here and now.” But the police told him that he must go with them. Many neighbors were downstairs watching, someone in the crowd said, “the Cultural Revolution is back again.”
Sun said, “Their act has already caused me personal damage, but that is exactly their intention. You want to write articles? We will give you a hard time and that will serve as a warning to others.”
Not long ago, Li Guotao, a freelance writer from Shanghai, wrote articles published in overseas media and the police confiscated his computer for several months. Sun said, “He lives on payments from his writings. Confiscating his computer is like cutting of his source of income. He was forced to go begging before they returned his computer. It is so despicable and abominable.”
“They deprive citizens of their rights at will and take advantage of difficulties to your livelihood to force you to obey. This kind of practice is unimaginable in a democratic country. There are many people in our country suffering the same fate as me. The Chinese communist regime's one party dictatorial rule has enabled them to unscrupulously trample upon and take away people's rights. China needs more people like Liu Xiaobo, Gao Zhisheng and Jiao Guobiao to come out and fight for their rights,” stated Sun.