China: Tweeting a detention experience

Yesterday, Guangzhou blogger Beifeng went hiking with a number of friends in Baiyun mountain. Some of them were wearing a t-shirt that carry a slogan from Xinhua Daily in1946 that says: one-party rule will bring disaster everywhere (一黨獨裁,遍地是災). It is a communist party slogan against the former ruling party Kuomingtang. The group of people were interrogated by six police and brought to the police station for further investigation. The tea-time lasted for more than eight hours and Beifeng reports on the process via twitter. Here is a translation of his tweets:


Some people with the t-shirts that carry the slogan of past “Xinhua Daily” are interogated by six police. They are on their way to climb Baiyun mountain.


Police officier numbered 018356 is most active.


The police officers want to take them to the police station, but they don't want to go. There is a tension.


Both sides are taking video of each other, the police officiers then ask us to delete the video.


The slogan on the t-shirts is “one party rule will bring disasters everywhere”.


Now all of them are invited to Baiyun police station. You can call up for further inquiry.


The reason for taking us away is to check our I.D and the police station of Baiyun branch is located at Guangyuen Chong Road 805.


I didn't wear the t-shirt, I went there to climb the mountain.


Nine of us are brought to the police branch. We are in a big room and there is no police officer there nor CCTV. From time to time, police officers walk pass the door. Probably they are waiting for the city police officers. We are making all kind of jokes in the room.


Still sitting in the police station. A undercover police walks in and asks us about the source of the slogan and asks if we are willing to write down our names. Two of us write their names down. The rain is very heavy outside.


Police comrades are having meeting, and there is only a police officer attending to us. We are bored. A friend is reciting poem from the Bible. Some fall asleep.


A friend just walked out from the police station front door. Ha, this is so funny.


Now the Baiyun police branch close the front door. Remind me of a saying “it is not too late to fix the cell after the sheep has run away”. This is hilarious.


The atmosphere is becoming tense and there are more police. They want to keep us for dinner. We ask them to give a reason for detaining us.


Now the eight of us are sitting in the stair way at the front of the police station, passer-by can stop and watch and take picture of us.


An undercover takes us to a meeting room in the second floor. A senior police officer wants to see us. Up till now there isn't any procedural step taken.


Now they are taking note.


The reason for the written interrogation record is disturbing social order.


I left the police station 20 mins ago. Have been detented for 8 hours. Other people should be fine, will report on that later. However, Yeh Du has to stay and have tea (being interrogated) with security police.

其他人被要求换上他们买的新衣服,留下旧衣服。我再三提出只有写扣押单才能留下衣服,他们不干,几番折腾的结果是我脱下旧衣服拿回家,但得穿上新衣服。给钱他们不要,光身不给。我衣服上写“Fucking revolution”及列宁中指图案。

Other people were asked to change into their new clothes and leave the old ones in the police station. I asked them to write a detention slip if they want us to leave our clothes. The police officers refused to do so. After a long negotiation, I took off my clothes and brought the old one home. But I had to wear the new one. I gave them money for the new clothes, they refused. I asked if I could just walk out without clothes, they wouldn't let me. By the way, the t-shirt that I wore had the slogan “Fucking revolution” with Lenin and his middle finger.


This is my first “tea-time” experience. Totally out of my expectation.


In their written record, I asked them to write down at the end: As a tourist in Baiyun mountain, as a citizen in this country, I feel regret that the police had detained me for more than six hours under the circumstance that I have not broken any law. I wish the country can respect every individual's freedom and will not let such incident happen again.


At first they asked me to change the clothes and I asked them to issue an official reciept for object detention. A police said if the object is a propaganda, they would destroy it. Later they suggested to cut it into pieces and brought the scissors in. I still requested the object detention slip. A police officer was getting angry and I told him that it was nothing personal. Then they consulted with the higher rank officers and eventually I could keep my t-shirt.


They asked me why I need the object detention slip, I said because I would get back my clothes.


Probably they could not think of any excuse to detain us, that's why they did not take away our mobile and eventually let one of us escaped. They had two hours meeting and then printed out a question outline. They must have consulted with higher rank police officials to figure that out. I told them that the whole incident would turn into a joke.


Yeh Du is now back home. All eight of us are back home safe.

As the time line of the tweets are not clear, Beifeng added more details in his blog:


The first tweet was written at 14:40, 19th of July. We arrived at the Baiyun police station at around 15:15. The written record started at around 18:00. 8 of us did that separately. I finished at 21:00. Because I insisted to have my clothes back, I stay longer until 22:55.


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