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Dissident Jia Wei Detained on Escape Fears

February 13, 2003

For Immediate Release

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned from reliable sources that Jia Wei, a dissident based in Changchun, Jilin Province, was apprehended by a group of men wearing military uniforms while seeking work in Xiamen, Fujian Province, on January 10. According to information, Jia was then detained by the Public Security Bureau for 15 days and sent to a psychiatric hospital for observation.

Sources say that due to constant surveillance and harassment by Changchun police, Jia has been unable to find work to support himself and his elderly parents, and for that reason had gone to Xiamen in early January to seek employment and enjoy a brief vacation in the nearby scenic areas. While Jia was taking part in a group tour of a coastal island on January 10, a large group of men in military uniforms grabbed him in front of astonished onlookers and said they had been looking for him for more than two hours. They carried out a thorough search of his person, then put him in handcuffs and bound him with rope. Jia was then taken to a military compound, where he was further manhandled, causing severe bruising to his wrists. After charging Jia with unauthorized travel to a border area, military officials handed him over to the Public Security Bureau, where he was detained for 15 days.

Upon his release, Jia was driven by police back to Changchun, where he was placed under observation in a psychiatric hospital. Jia was finally allowed to leave the psychiatric hospital on January 29 after his brother agreed to serve as guarantor and paid a total of RMB 2000 for his transportation and hospital fees.

Jia objects strongly to his oppressive treatment, and describes as nonsense the charge on his arrest warrant that his island tour constituted an attempt to escape to Taiwan. He also protests the inhumane treatment he suffered while in custody.

Jia Wei is one of the most prominent dissidents in Jilin Province, having he developed a strong concern for China’s human rights and democratic development after studying for six years in Russia. He has published a number of articles, as well as participating in several petitions calling for political reform. He has been arrested and interrogated many times, and has also been subjected to other forms of oppression and harassment.

HRIC president Liu Qing observes, “Ever since another Changchun dissident, Tang Yuanjuan, managed to escape to Taiwan through Fujian and seek political asylum in the U.S., the Chinese authorities have been obsessed with preventing other dissidents from doing likewise. Jia Wei has become a victim of the crackdown. But it’s completely unfair and unreasonable to deprive an individual of his freedom of movement just because of the actions of another.”

HRIC calls on the Chinese government to recognize the basic right of individuals to travel freely within their own country, and not to use the escape of one dissident as an excuse to restrict the freedom of others.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (852) 2710-8021 (English – Hong Kong)
Liu Qing 212-239-4495 (Chinese)