Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Chinese Human Rights Lawyer’s Family -- Elements of the New Black Five

A 16-year-old boy and his grandparents, one of them paralyzed, have been under house arrest in Tianjin city in China for more than 10 days.

What have they done? 

Nothing. The only reason is that they’re relatives of human rights lawyer Wang Yu and her activist husband Bao Longjun. 

And they’re being called Elements of the New Black Five. The old Black Five were categories coined in the Cultural Revolution for the bottom class that’s doomed for persecution: landlord, rich peasant, counter-revolutionary, bad element (no specific definition) and Rightist. The term applies to all of their family members and descendants. Millions of them (most were intellectuals) were detained, forced to do hard labor, tortured or killed. They were like the Jews in Nazi Germany.
human rights lawyer Wang Yu

Wang Yu  and Bao Lunjun were the first to be arrested in a sweeping crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists. Since July 9, more than 240 of them and members of their families and staff have been arrested, interrogated or gone missing. It’s an unprecedented crackdown since the Tiananmen Massacre of 1989. Wang and her colleagues at Fengrui Law Firm were branded by Chinese propaganda media as a “major criminal gang.” 

Despite protests in the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and statements from the U.S. State Department, the U.N., E.U. and a number of international organizations such as Amnesty International and lawyers' groups around the world condemning the crackdown and calling for the immediate release of the detained, Beijing continues to interrogate and round up lawyers and activists.

The couple’s son Bao Mengmeng and his father were kidnapped by the police on July 9 as they were at the security check of the Beijing Capital Airport. They were going to fly to Kuala Lumpur, then transfer to Australia, where Mengmeng was going to study at a high school. A group of people dashed towards them, covered Mengmeng’s mouth and threw them in two separate vans. On the same night, Wang Yu was taken away from her Beijing home.

Mengmeng was taken to Tianjin and detained for about 40 hours in a hotel room and later a police station. Since then, he has been staying with his grandparents in Tianjin. A handful of family friends were able to see them a few days after Mengmeng’s release. One visitor told New York-based activist Rose Tang: “Mengmeng was very afraid. He really wanted to go to Australia to study. But since they’ve taken away his passport, he won’t be able to (go there to) study.”

Bao Longjun's father bed bound for 3 years
Mengmeng’s grandfather has been bed bound for three years. Both grandmothers, in their 70’s, are sickly and frail. “The grandmothers have to cook and look after the sick grandfather. They’re really struggling with daily life. And they’re going through quite a financial hardship,” the visitor said.

Shortly after the visits, police officers started to be stationed outside their door. According to weiquanwang.com, Mengmeng, his two grandmothers and aunt Bao Haiying have been interrogated by the police, who told them it was “for their good.” 

They were told not to contact lawyers or journalists. The police took away Mengmeng’s passport and keys to his Beijing home and told him that he won’t be allowed to go to Australia or return to his Beijing home. He was also told not to ask about his parents, who are held in undisclosed locations and have been incommunicado. 

Wang Yu's activist husband Bao Longjun
New York-based Human Rights Watch said on July 21 that Wang and a dozen more lawyers and activists who are detained in secret locations are “vulnerable to torture and other abuses.” Wang was jailed for two and a half years before, both she and her husband Bao have been assaulted numerous times by court officers and the police. Bao has been working with petitioners and grass roots rights protection activists. 

Family friends say Mengmeng is a shy and reserved teenager. His house arrest has sparked a public outcry. New York-based Chinese activist Wen Yunchao Tweeted: “This is the Second Generation of the Red (Communist cadres’ children) persecuting the New  Black Five.”

Ai Xiaoming, renowned Chinese scholar and independent documentary maker who lives in China had these words published: “Kid, don’t you be afraid. Your big aunt was a member of the Black Five. Your world is bound to be vast. Many people are caring about you. You just study at home first and prepare for going overseas, compete against them to see who live longer. You’re destined to succeed!”
Words on placrad on Xi Jinping's father Xi Zhongxun: "Anti-Party Element"

Rose Tang, a Tiananmen Massacre survivor, Tweeted old photos of Chinese President Xi Jinping ‘s father Xi Zhongxun being persecuted at a struggle meeting and a young Xi Jinping during the Cultural Revoluion, along with photos of Wang Yu, Bao Mengmeng and his grandmothers. She wrote: “Xitler! You’ve forgotten how your old dad was persecuted in those years and when you were an element of the Black Five? Now you’re spreading the persecution to relatives and associates...The Old Black Five (the New Second Red Generation) are persecuting the New Black Five! The day when the people take revenge on you and your cronies is not far!” 

Tang’s parents and grandparents were persecuted in the Cultural Revolution. All were branded “Elements of the Black Five”.

San Francisco-based NGO Humanitarian China, co-founded by Tianamen Massacre survivor and student leader Zhou Fengsuohas set up a special fund to support the human rights lawyers/activists and their families. Please donate to them: http://h-china.org/2015_rights_lawyers/

More than 2,500 people have signed a petition calling for the White House to cancel Xi's state visit to the U.S. scheduled for the U.S., and there's been a worldwide boycott on Beijing's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

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