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ICC Note:

The following article is professor He Guanghu’s first hand account of his dention at Beijing Capital International Airport.

11/23/2010 China (ChinaAid)


People’s University professor He Guanghu, who was barred by authorities from leaving the country last week to attend an academic conference, argues that when the government is the very party that violates the rights that it is supposed to protect, and does so in the name of “state security,” that raises all sorts of questions about the relationship between the people, the state and the government. And he points out that his experience is only one of a series of recent such government actions directed at people who “might” pose a threat to state security.

 Text: November 21, 2010

On November 19, 2010, I arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport to travel to Singapore for an academic conference there, but I was barred by airport personnel from exiting the country. The reason: my departure from China “might endanger state security.” When I demanded that they provide evidence that I “might endanger state security,” I did not get any answer!

That being the case, I can only surmise that what happened had to do with the guest list for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Because this year’s winner, Liu Xiaobo, is still in prison, his wife Liu Xia had to prepare a proposed list of invitees; this is how the ceremony arrangements have always been handled. Though I do not personally know Liu or his wife, I have been told that my name is on their list (thus far I have not seen the actual list).  I have also heard that some other people whose names also are on the list have also been barred from leaving China, even though they were not planning to go to Norway.  I can only conclude that this was the reason I was barred from going abroad, even though this does not constitute a good “reason.”

While I was being held at the airport, I told them that this was what I surmised; they neither admitted it nor denied it.

The situation is abundantly clear: Simply because some people want to or plan to invite me to attend a ceremony or a banquet, I am deprived of my right to safe communication (since I mentioned this invitation only in my phone calls and emails, the authorities obviously must have been tapping my phone or reading my private communications without my knowledge); my right to personal security and the right of freedom to travel (while I was being detained at customs, I was under guard even when I went to a restroom; if I had insisted on exercising my freedom to go abroad, I would doubtless have been met with violence); and I was deprived of my right to security of my assets (as I was not compensated for my unused plane tickets, transportation expenses or the loss of time, this is tantamount to robbery).  In this way, without any proper legal procedures, my right to security and protection in the above three areas were deprived, and all because someone intended to invite me to a banquet!

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