Wang was released by Dubai and flew to Turkey

Wang Jingyu, a young man from Chongqing who was convicted of speaking out, was released by Dubai police on Thursday (May 27) and has been flown to Turkey.

Wang was threatened with a deadline to turn himself in by Chinese authorities for making online comments critical of the Chinese Communist Party military during his overseas trip. His friends previously tweeted that Wang was arrested by local police during a stopover in Dubai on his way to the United States and was threatened with deportation.

Wang’s case comes as the UAE, long a U.S. defense partner in the Middle East, has grown closer to China in recent years over trade and the fight against the new crown epidemic, according to the Associated Press. This has also raised concerns among U.S. officials, with some experts saying that a “great power conflict” between the United States and China and Russia is imminent.

The State Department told the Associated Press, “We remain alarmed by China’s human rights violations and abuses, and we call on the (Chinese) authorities to respect the fundamental freedoms to which its citizens are entitled, consistent with China’s international obligations and commitments.”

After his release, Wang Jingyu posted a video from an Emirates flight showing his ticket back to Istanbul, the report said.

“The police here are terrible,” he said, “and today, they suddenly took me on the plane. They didn’t even give me back my clothes or shoes, they gave me a pair of flip-flops to wear. They didn’t give me anything but a passport and a phone. They were really horrible. It was horrible.”

Wang Jingyu tweeted

The human rights group Safeguard Defenders said Wang said he was handcuffed in the middle of the night and put on a plane back to Istanbul. Wang’s computer and most of his clothes remain in the possession of Dubai police.

Wang, 19, left his hometown of Chongqing in July 2019 and has been traveling abroad. During his travels, he was reported by netizens for posting comments on Weibo that questioned and criticized PLA officers and soldiers killed in the Sino-Indian border conflict.

The official microblog of the Shapingba District Branch of Chongqing Public Security Bureau issued a police bulletin on Feb. 22 saying that “the suspect Wang was criminally detained on suspicion of provoking and provoking trouble, and he was tracked down online.” Since then, Wang has come under heavy fire from some netizens, who say he has denigrated the PLA and is a “traitor” and “traitor”. His and his family’s personal information – name, date of birth, home address, parents’ workplace, cell phone numbers, etc. – were also fiercely “fleshed out”.

Since Wang was not in China, his parents were interrogated by the authorities and taken to the local police station for questioning, and the police even raided the homes of Wang and his parents.

According to a Dubai prosecution indictment obtained by The Associated Press, Wang is facing investigation for allegedly “insulting a monotheistic religion,” a charge that usually refers to insulting Islam. However, the Dubai government media office initially told the AP that Wang was arrested for “not paying a hotel bill” and denied that he faced any charges for insulting Islam.

The Dubai government media office reportedly said Wang later faced insult charges, but “the hotel payment was settled, the charges were dropped, and he was released.”

The office said, “Chinese authorities have not inquired about Wang Jingyu or requested his repatriation to China, nor is there any agreement between the UAE and Chinese authorities regarding Wang Jingyu.”

The report added that the U.S. State Department has been “actively seeking” information on Wang Jingyu because he could be sent back to China.

“We actively discourage foreign governments from tactics that threaten overseas journalists and dissidents, and we will continue to make clear to partners and adversaries that this increasingly widespread practice must end.” The U.S. State Department said, “Freedom of expression should never be criminalized.”

Human Rights Watch’s 2021 World Human Rights Report, released in January, criticized Chinese authorities for increasingly targeting the families of human rights defenders while continuing to crack down on the community of human rights defenders.