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Family Says Rights Defender Zhang Lin is Criminally Detained

July 19, 2013

According to a series of Weibo posts by family members of Zhang Lin (张林), the long-time rights activist was criminally detained on July 19 by the Bengbu Public Security Bureau, Anhui Province, on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” The official detention notice says that Zhang is being held at the Bengbu City No. 1 Detention Center.

One of the posts—summarized in a Twitter message sent out by Zhang Lin’s lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原)stated that Zhang Lin disappeared from his home in Bengbu on the evening of July 18. Liu’s summary also said the following: Over the past ten days, Zhang was under tight surveillance by Domestic Security officers. On the night of July 18, his ex-wife and his two daughters came home after dinner and found several Domestic Security officers there and that Zhang Lin was missing. The ex-wife called Zhang Lin on the phone but received no answer.

Weibo posts provided additional details on the events of July 19:


On July 19, from the morning to 8 p.m., on six separate occasions, officers from the Bengshan branch of the Bengbu Public Security Bureau and from the Bengbu Domestic Security brigade led a team of dozens of people to come to Zhang Lin’s home, twice forcing their entry. The team of people included officers from police substations, neighborhood committee, Civil Affairs Bureau, All China Women's Federation, and other government agencies.

Zhang Lin's ex-wife and one of Zhang's daughters were in the house and refused to let them in the first two times because the officers did not clearly state their purpose. On the police's third try, around 10:40 a.m., they told Zhang’s ex-wife that they came to discuss Zhang Lin's affairs. When she opened the door, several dozens of people rushed in. Only two persons—one of whom a police officer—showed their IDs.

Zhang’s ex-wife convinced the officers not to search the house yet and asked them to let her and Zhang's two daughters to see Zhang Lin at the detention center in the afternoon.

Zhang Lin is a writer and activist who has served many prison and Reeducation-Through-Labor sentences since the 1980s for his pro-democracy activities and writings. He was released from his latest prison sentence in August 2009.

In February this year, Zhang attempted to move from Bengbu to Hefei with his daughter Zhang Anni, to be near his older daughter who was attending university there. The authorities in Hefei forcibly removed Zhang Anni from a local school she was attending and took both father and daughter back to Bengbu. In April, Xu Zhiyong (许志永) and Liu Weiguo (刘卫国)—both of whom were criminally detained in recent days—were among those who took public actions to protest the removal of the Zhangs from Bengbu and Zhang Anni from school in Hefei.

For more information on Zhang Lin and Zhang Anni, see: