Chi­nese dis­si­dent’s son barred from study in Aus­tralia


An 18-year-old Chi­nese stu­dent in­tend­ing to study at Mel­bourne Univer­sity was on Mon­day barred from leav­ing the coun­try be­cause his mother is a prom­i­nent hu­man rights lawyer.

Mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers at Tian­jin Air­port cut up the pass­port of Bao Zhuox­uan in front of him — on in­struc­tion, they said, from State Se­cu­rity Min­istry col­leagues in Ho­hhot in In­ner Mon­go­lia, where the fam­ily lives.

His fa­ther, Bao Longjun, asked The Aus­tralian by phone: “What has our son done wrong, to stop him go­ing to study?

‘‘What crime has he com­mit­ted to place him un­der such per­se­cu­tion?”

The rea­son given to the young man by the of­fi­cers at the air­port was that “your de­par­ture may jeop­ar­dise state se­cu­rity, so you’re not al­lowed to leave China”.

His mother, Wang Yu, 46, who works with the Bei­jing-based Fen­grui law firm, is one of 300 hu­man rights lawyers and sup­port staff ar­rested in a na­tion­wide sweep on July 9, 2015.

Ms Wang, a com­mer­cial lawyer who switched her fo­cus fol­low­ing a ver­bal dis­pute with a rail­way of­fi­cial for which she was jailed for “in­ten­tional as­sault”, was even­tu­ally charged, af­ter lengthy de­ten­tion, with sub­vert­ing state power, like many other lawyers.

She de­fended Il­ham Toti, a Uighur in­tel­lec­tual, the “Fem­i­nist Five” women’s rights group, and fol­low­ers of Falun Gong.

State news agency Xinhua de­scribed her as “this ar­ro­gant woman with a crim­i­nal record, blab­ber­ing about the rule of law, hu­man rights and jus­tice, roam­ing around un­der the flag of ‘de­fend­ing rights’ ”.

The Amer­i­can Bar As­so­ci­a­tion gave her its in­au­gu­ral In­ter­na­tional Hu­man Rights Award, in ab­sen­tia.

Its pres­i­dent, Paulette Brown, said: “We recog­nise her im­por­tant work to pro­tect hu­man rights and to ad­vo­cate that the Chi­nese govern­ment re­spect the in­de­pen­dence of the ju­di­ciary and the le­gal pro- fes­sion, and ob­serve fair trial and due process stan­dards.”

Ms Wang was re­leased at the end of last year af­ter giv­ing an ap­par­ently co­erced tele­vised “con­fes­sion” that she had been used by for­eign en­e­mies to un­der­mine China’s rep­u­ta­tion.

She and her hus­band — who had also been ar­rested — agreed as a con­di­tion of their re­lease, in dis­cus­sion with In­ner Mon­go­lian State Se­cu­rity of­fi­cers, that they would cease their pub­lic ad­vo­cacy.

But Mr Bao said they con­sid­ered that this agree­ment had now been bro­ken, as a re­sult of the pun­ish­ment in­flicted on their son.

The son had passed the In­ter­na­tional English Lan­guage Test­ing Sys­tem ex­am­i­na­tion, and was go­ing to fly first to Tokyo to stay with friends as he awaited the hoped-for of­fer from Mel­bourne Univer­sity.

He al­ready has of­fers from three other Aus­tralian uni­ver­si­ties.

His par­ents were ac­com­pa­ny­ing him at Tian­jin Air­port.

Shortly be­fore the par­ents were held in the na­tion­wide raid on lawyers two years ago, the son had gone to Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Air­port to fly to Aus­tralia.

The fam­ily had ear­lier ar­ranged for him to com­plete his high school ed­u­ca­tion in Aus­tralia.

But on this ear­lier oc­ca­sion he was also barred from de­part­ing, and was taken by po­lice to nearby Tian­jin, where he was ques­tioned, and his face was slapped.

He was es­corted back to Ho­hhot — where he stayed with his grand­mother af­ter his par­ents were de­tained.

The Aus­tralian con­tacted the State Se­cu­rity Min­istry in Ho­hhot to com­ment about this week’s air­port in­ci­dent, but the min­istry has so far not re­sponded.

Bao Zhuox­uan

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.