asia

A Chinese dissident, Wang Jingyu, freed in Dubai


After his release, Wang travelled to Turkey where he had fled before his arrest. He had criticised the Chinese government’s lack of transparency over its losses in the last year’s border clash with India. For this he was accused of “defaming heroes and martyrs”. In detention, he came under pressure to consent to his return to China. The US turned its attention to his case.

 

Dubai (AsiaNews) – The United Arab Emirates has released a young Chinese dissident wanted by China. After weeks in detention, Wang Jingyu flew to Istanbul, where he had fled before he was arrested.

The Chinese government is persecuting Wang for his online comments about last summer’s clashes between Chinese and Indian troops along their Himalayan border.

Wang was arrested on 6 April at Dubai International Airport during a stopover as he was making his way from Turkey to the United States, where he is a permanent resident.

In an interview with Epoch Times, Wang said that plainclothes police took him to prison on an initial charge of endangering national security.

In detention he received several visits from Chinese Embassy staff. Together with local authorities, they tried to get him to sign a document agreeing to go back to China, a claim local police reject.

The Chinese Embassy in the UAE and China’s Foreign Ministry have so far not commented on the matter.

In Chongqing (Sichuan) police issued an arrest order against Wang for “defaming heroes and martyrs”.

On 21 February, two days after the Chinese government reported the death of four soldiers in border clashes with India eight months earlier, Wang asked the authorities on Weibo why they had been so slow in acknowledging the deaths.

“What on earth are you are hiding?” the young man asked in a post on the popular Chinese microblogging website.

On 15 June 2020, Indian and Chinese troops faced off in the Galwan Valley, along the border between India’s State of Ladakh and China’s Aksai Chin. Some 20 Indian soldiers were reportedly killed, while unconfirmed sources put China’s losses at 45.

India and China share a border that stretches for 3,488 km in the harsh Himalayan region, scene of a brief but bloody war between the two powers in 1962.

Wang’s release came shortly after his case came to the attention of the US State Department, humanitarian groups such as Safeguard Defenders, and the international press.

The fear of relatives and friends was that the UAE might decide to deport Wang back to China.

The Gulf monarchy is an old US ally, but in recent years has forged ever closer trade ties with China. Last year the two countries also began working together to develop and produce COVID-19 vaccines.





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