Wang Heying, a rights activist in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, opened a tea house and was suppressed by the authorities. (Video screenshot)
However, on May 14, it was reported that a number of human rights activists who wanted to attend the ceremony had lost contact with the outside world or had their freedom illegally restricted, including Ren Quanniu, who had been involved in the 12 Hong Kong people case and had his lawyer’s license revoked. The media reported that Ren Quanniu, Wang Yu, Wang Quanzhang, and Zhang Jianzhong, a well-known human rights lawyer, had lost contact with the outside world or had their freedom illegally restricted.
According to media reports, Ren Quanniu posted a message on social media shortly after 00:00 a.m. on Saturday, saying that after a day of questioning, he had been sent back to the hotel he had booked in Suzhou, and that the Chinese Communist Party’s state security police and auxiliary police had left after taking pictures.
Ren Quanniu said that he was drinking tea with some friends at Wang and Ying’s house at around 11 a.m. on the 14th, when more than 10 police officers suddenly came to the door, claiming that someone had reported them for illegal assembly and brought them back to the interrogation room of Zhoushizhen Police Station in Kunshan City for questioning until 11 p.m., when they were taken out of the police station and sent to a hotel in Suzhou. The whereabouts of the other people taken away are unknown.
Wang Canfen, the wife of Suzhou rights activist Wu Qihe, tweeted at 6:43 p.m. on the 14th that her husband went to Kunshan in the morning with Ren Quanniu, Zhuang Lei and Zhou Jindan to attend the opening ceremony of Wang Heying Tea House. “Now they have lost contact, Wang Heying’s phone is unanswered, Wu Qihe’s phone is off, Zhou Jindan’s phone is off, Ren’s lawyer’s phone is unanswered, please pay attention.”
Chinese civil rights group Minsheng Watch also cited a release from Tianjin rights activist Zhang Jianzhong, who said police at the wall police station illegally restricted Zhang’s personal freedom that day, preventing him from traveling to Suzhou to attend the opening ceremony of Wang Heying’s tea house. Zhang said that the police did not withdraw their post even after they missed the driving time, apparently to control for a longer period of time.
Zhang said the police move was an attempt to prevent rights activists from around the world from traveling to Suzhou to meet. Zhang then called to contact well-known human rights lawyers Wang Yu and Wang Quanzhang, as well as conscientious artist Soul Chaser (Liu Jinxing) and other invited participants to the opening of the tea house, but they could not be reached.
In addition, the police also informed Beijing human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang on the morning of the 14th that he could not attend the opening of the tea house.
Wang, a local public-spirited activist, has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party for more than a decade, including six administrative detentions and one reeducation through labor, which forced her 14-year-old daughter to drop out of school, and she was detained and beaten by police before the 2019 session, after which her hearing was permanently damaged.
Wang was awarded the 2020 Cao Shunli Human Rights Award for her work on the case of ink thrower Dong Yaoqiong, her visits to political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in China, and her sharing of these experiences with the public online.
In an invitation to the opening of the tea house and the double happiness ceremony of building a magpie bridge, Wang He Ying said that she intended to open a tea house in Kunshan in order to give thanks and give back to all parties. The ceremony will be hosted by Ouyang Jinghua, a respected veteran of Hunan’s pro-democracy movement, as well as Wang Yu and Wang Quanzhang, renowned human rights lawyers at home and abroad, and the conscientious artist Chasing the Soul (Liu Jinxing) as special guests.
In her invitation letter, she expressed her hope that this tea house would receive friends from home and abroad, traveling between Shanghai and Suzhou, to sip fragrant tea and discuss the past and present. She also named her tea house “Kunshan Station”.
In addition, Wang and Ying plan to hold four matchmaking events a year for single people who are always on the move in the field of human rights, to help them find a partner with similar interests.
Zhang said it was ridiculous for Wang and Ying to provide such a platform, the Magpie Club, for their singles, and the local police were horrified. “Isn’t it the same reason that if you have done too many bad things, you are always afraid that someone will take an axe and chop him up when you walk down the road. This is not the rule of law, this is the trampling of human rights, illegal restrictions on personal freedom.”