Yang Licai’s account in full:
What Wu Yuren and I went through at Jiuxianqiao police station
In the afternoon of May 30, 2010, the property management of 798 art district again cut the power to my studio. I called the property management maintenance department but they wouldn’t provide the electricity. In order to for work and life to resume, I borrowed a gasoline generator from a friend Wu Yuren.
At around 3 pm on May 31, 2010, about 20 men came to my studio and took the generator by force. I recognized some security guards from 798 property management among them. I went to the police station at 798 to report the case and identified the man who took the generator to a policeman named Hou Kun.
Hou Kun told me that they are all from 798 property management and my generator was there too. He said I can only file a police report at the police station. I called 110 as he suggested. I also called Wu Yuren and my younger brother to tell them about the generator. Soon Wu Yuren came to the 798 police station in a scooter and we sprayed a few graffiti at the walls in 798 in protest, such as “798 property management robs, shameless.”
Then a policeman from Jiuxianqiao police station arrived in a police car. I decided to go to the police station to file a report and Wu said he would go with me. So he put his scooter away and went to the police station with me in the police car.
At around 4 pm, police told us to wait in the waiting room. About 20 minutes later they took us to an interrogation room. The police officers who handled the case didn’t ask us anything about the crime we were there to report, instead they held me and Wu Yuren (without any oral or written subpoena).
We were not allowed to leave the room or make phone calls or go buy drinking water. I questioned the police: I said I was the victim and came to report a case, so why didn’t you record my report but hold me in custody? Wu Yuren was only accompanying me, why did you hold him in custody? On what legal grounds did you do this? The police didn’t reply, but instead, said that I was not cooperating.
Their attitude was bad, so Wu argued in my defense. Several policemen pushed and shoved Wu into a small room separated by iron bars with “women’s” written on the door. Officer X [name deleted], deputy chief of the police station who was on duty that day, also grabbed Wu’s cell phone (without showing us any search warrant).
Police asked me to hand over my cell phone too and I refused and put it in my pocket. Police approached me, trying to take the phone by force, and I warned them that forcible physical search is against the law, so they backed down.
Wu and I protested the policemen’s misconduct many times, and asked Officer X to give Wu’s cell phone back, but the policemen all turned a deaf ear. Some policeman was shooting us with a digital video camera. Wu and I requested to call our families and call the police inspectors to complain. Police said they asked their supervisors who denied our requests.
At around 7 pm, my brother came looking for me at the police station. But the police wouldn’t let me see him. Wu and I asked to see our families so that they could send us food. Police agreed. Wu and I met my brother. I gave him my cell phone and told him that the police didn’t accept my report according to legal procedures but held Wu and I in custody and grabbed Wu’s cell phone. My brother and his friend bought dinner and sent to the police station. Wu and I had dinner in the interrogation room.
On the night of May 31, I don’t know when exactly, Wu and I were led out of the small room and put into the same interrogation room. Wu said to the policemen guarding us that he wanted Officer X to return the cell phone. Several policemen at the scene started scorning him in contempt tone and abusive language, such as, “You f**ker…you behave yourself”, “You f**ker, Are you trying to give me a hard time?”, to provoke and taunt Wu. Some pointed fingers, some cursed, and some pushed and shoved. Wu protested aloud, saying, “Please clean up your language and don’t touch me!”
‘Officer X’ came to the interrogation room and told Wu, “You behave yourself!”and said scornful things to him. Wu told him, “give me my cell phone back. On what grounds did you take my cell phone?” ‘Officer X’ told the policemen nearby, “get him out of here.”
Then Officer X and several policemen grabbed Wu by force, dragged him out of the room. Soon I heard Wu screaming loudly. It lasted about 30 seconds and then the voice weakened. About 3 to 4 minutes later, I heard him screaming again. It sounded like he was going through tremendous pain.
I suspected that he was been beaten by the police so I protested loudly, asking them to stop violating Wu. Police didn’t answer me. So I went to the window, opened the screen window and cried for help towards the street outside, saying on top of my voice “police are beating people!” but no one answered me. The street light was on outside, and there were not many passers-by or cars. Several policemen dragged me away from the window and put me in the separate room again. I started a hunger strike in protest of what the police did to Wu.
In the early morning of June 1, I saw Wu in the hallway at the police station. He looked tired and in pain, with one arm hanging down stiffly. I asked him what had happened. He said, “I can’t move this whole arm. And It hurts so bad. Police did this.” Then we were separated again. In the afternoon when I came back from the toilet, I saw Wu briefly again. He said his wife came to see him but the police wouldn’t allow it.
Then police showed me a subpoena, saying that I was subpoenaed for the graffiti. I refused to sign it in protest against the unjust treatment before. Police again show a “inspection permit”, asking to check my belongings. I said if they want to search my body they need a warrant, so several of them held me and searched me by force. They also took my belongings. The police again asked me about the graffiti and recorded. I refused to answer any questions except giving them my basic personal information. And I refused to sign the report.
After a while, two policemen started to ask me about the generator being robbed. So I recounted the whole thing to them in great detail, signed and put my fingerprint on the report. Then the police returned my belongings.
At almost dusk I was taken away from the Jiuxianqiao police station by the police without prior notice and sent to the Chaoyang district detention house. While waiting in an interrogation room, policemen from Jiuxianqiao police station brought Wu to my room. Policeman B read a “written decision of detention” in front of him and asked him to sign. Wu asked him, “Why are you asking me to sign when it doesn’t even say how long I will be detained?” Policeman B said, “That will be decided after you are sent to the detention house. Sign first.” Wu refused and was taken away by police. After that I never saw Wu again.
At around 10 pm that night, I was detained for 10 days by Beijing Public Security Bureau Chaoyang district branch for “obstructing police duty, later caught by the police.” I was then transferred to Chaoyang district detention house.
July 3, 2010
Note: During the G20 Summit here in Toronto, Canada, the Ontario provincial enacted a new law in secret. Police used this law to search, arrest and beat up common citizens. All this without a required warrant. While the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were seemingly suspended, certain parts of Toronto looked like they were under martial law. This was the first time I have seen this happen in Canada. Maybe the differences between China and Canada are not so dissimilar after all.