Sun Wenguang, a retired economics professor from Shandong University and a rights activist, reportedly went missing after police barged into his home in Jinan, the capital of eastern China’s Shandong province, during a live television phone interview.
The 84-year-old rights activist recently appeared live on a Mandarin-language show that is being funded by the United State government, “Voice of America,” according to The New York Times
Sun, a well-known critic of the Chinese government, was voicing his opinion on the show when suddenly, police officers barged into his house and took him. An audio recording of the whole incident was later posted by VOA News
on its Twitter account.
In the clip, Sun can be heard saying, “Here they come again, the police are here to interrupt again. Here they are again; four, five, six of them.”
Sun then tried to talk to the men that barged into his home and said, “Listen to what I say, is it wrong? People are poor. Let’s not throw our money in Africa.”
The retired professor has a long history of antagonizing the Chinese government in the past. He was one of the signatories of the Charter 08 manifesto, a pro-democracy document authored by Liu Xiaobo, an activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize while in jail and died last year. The document was quickly suppressed by the Chinese government.
Sun, along with another fellow activist Ai Weiwei, had planned to attend the Nobel prize-giving ceremony in 2010 in Oslo, Norway, but they were prevented from leaving the country, Radio Free Asia
“The seven, eight of you here,” the activist continues as can be heard in the audio recording, “listen up, throwing money like this is of no good to our country and society.”
The situation, however, became more intense when the men started to do something to Sun as his voice suddenly became alarmed.
“What are you doing? What are you doing? Let me tell you, it’s illegal for you to come to my home,” he said. “I have my freedom of speech!” Sun added before the call was cut off.
“This is the status quo of human rights in China,” the show’s host, Bo Xu, said after the call was dropped. VOA tried to reach Sun after the incident, but to no avail.
This is not the first time Sun was harassed by someone from the government. In 2009, he was reportedly attacked by public security officials while visiting a grave in a cemetery in Jinan where Zhao Ziyang is buried. Zhao was a former prime minister and Communist Party leader who voiced strong support for the pro-democracy Tiananmen demonstrations also known as the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Sun recently penned a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping suggesting that the foreign aid and investment that the government has been sending abroad should be instead used to help the poor in China. Instead of listening, however, the government viewed the letter as an attack to China’s plan to increase its economic and political clout overseas, commonly known as the “Belt and Road Initiative.”
In July, a young woman went missing after she live-streamed herself defacing several posters
of Chinese President Xi Jinping. After her disappearance, her father was also taken by the police
during his live-stream in a bid to ask the authorities where they took his daughter.
Featured image via YouTube / AFP