Chinese police capture human rights dissident – during a Voice of America broadcast

By Robert Laurie

Well, here’s something that should make you appreciate how good we have it in the States.

Wenguang Sun is a retired Shandong University Professor who regularly dares to speak his mind about the Chinese government’s ongoing – and currently escalating – history of human rights abuses.  To put it mildly, he’s a brave guy who’s willing to publicly stand up against the oppressive Chinese Communist government.

According to Voice Over America, Sun was invited to appear on an hour long show called Issues & Opinions in part because of an open letter he recently wrote which was highly critical of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Sun contacted the program for a telephone interview and, while still on the phone, Chinese police kicked in the door to his home and demanded that he end the call. When Sun refused, he was dragged away.

He has not been heard from since.

As VOA reports:

Chinese police broke into the home of a retired Shandong University professor who is critical of China’s human rights record as he was expressing via a telephone interview his opinions on the Voice of America (VOA) Mandarin television show, Issues & Opinions.

VOA Mandarin has attempted to reach professor Wenguang Sun by cellphone and WeChat, a popular social media platform, since he was removed from his home during the Wednesday night broadcast. The professor, who lives in Jinan, the capital of eastern China’s Shandong province, has not responded. Sources in Shandong told VOA he was under house arrest.

“I am entitled to express my opinion. This is my freedom of speech,” were the professor’s last words heard on the show via telephone.

Yibing Feng, VOA’s correspondent in Beijing, called the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China for comment, but the mobile phone open to the public was turned off, and the landline was not answered. Feng also contacted the Public Security Department of Shandong University and the Shanda Road Police Station of Jinan’s Public Security Bureau. Neither would comment.

The amazing thing about this is that the entire incident played out on the air.


Over at the Washington Post, they confirm that no one has any idea where Sun is, and Amnesty International has called it ‘shocking and outrageous.’

Patrick Poon of Amnesty International in Hong Kong called Sun’s arrest “shocking and outrageous.”

“It’s another example of how the Chinese authorities are determined to silence dissidents,” he said in an email. “I’m very worried about his whereabouts.” Poon also noted that Sun’s arrest during an actual interview was rare. “Usually, they would just warn the activist after they have talked to the media.”

While the on-air takedown might be rare, abuses like this are, sadly, nothing new. It’s simply the way China does things.  That’s something to keep in mind when you see giant corporations like Google rushing to aid China in its censorship efforts.

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