HomeAsiaChinese dissident calls for investigation into his nephew's drowning

Chinese dissident calls for investigation into his nephew’s drowning

A dissident from China’s southwestern Yunnan province has called on police to investigate the drowning of her two-year-old nephew, citing unanswered questions about how the toddler ended up in a river after his grandmother lost sight of him.

The family’s suspicions arose after officials and police from east China’s Jiangsu province appeared shortly after the fatal drowning and took away the body of two-year-old Wang Hao, Wang Li told Radio Free Asia.

Wang Li, who is currently under close surveillance while her husband, poet Wang Zang, is serving a prison term for “subversion”, said Wang Hao drowned on the afternoon of March 12 in her hometown of Sanhe, Guannan County. .

The boy had been with his grandmother, who lost sight of him.

Later, his body was found floating face down in a nearby stream, and he was rescued by his mother, who went in to retrieve it despite not knowing how to swim, Wang Li said.

watchdog failure

Wang Li said there was some suspicion as to how the boy had died, and the incident was not caught on China’s ubiquitous surveillance camera system. She said local police told her there was no surveillance footage from the scene, with a nearby camera having no memory card at the time.

“He was floating in the water, but the clothes around his neck were dry,” he said. “My mother said that someone should have seen what happened, but no one did.”

“Someone could have gone looking for my mother, and if they had, the child would not be dead.”

Activist Wang Li, wife of poet Wang Zang, was recently closely watched by the Chinese authorities. She was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.” She was released last year after serving her sentence. Credit: Provided by Wang Li.

As soon as Wang Li’s mother pulled the drowned boy out of the water, the Sanhe Village Communist Party secretary appeared on the scene and ordered people to take away the boy’s body without the family’s consent, Wang said. Li.

“My brother was holding the boy’s body at the time and his hands were forcibly separated and the body was taken away even though my brother said he had not consented,” he said. removed because he thought the family was too distraught to do so.”

Wang Li asked the local police to investigate.

“We just want to know how the kid ended up in the creek,” he said.

Ni Yulan, a Beijing-based human rights activist, said there are unanswered questions about possible foul play.

“If it was a normal drowning, they would come to comfort the family, they would not go to bury the child in such a hurry,” Ni said. “The party secretary must understand the law and know that the child’s body belongs to his family.”

“For the party secretary to do this is a violation of legal procedures (on funeral arrangements) as well as being very unfair to the family,” he said.

gag order

Yunnan police slapped a gag order, travel ban and 24 hour surveillance about Wang Li and his children with Wang Zang as part of a national “stability maintenance” operation during the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

The continued surveillance of Wang Li and the couple’s children despite their release from prison at the end of their shorter sentence comes amid a nationwide mobilization by law enforcement agencies as part of China’s “stability maintenance” program. The program aims to nip in the bud any form of public protest or criticism of the government during key political events or on sensitive dates.

Wang Zang and Wang Li were jailed after a closed-door hearing by the Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefectural Intermediate People’s Court found them guilty of “incitement to subvert state power” after they gave interviews to foreign media organizations.

Translated by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Alex Willemyns and Malcolm Foster.

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