Interview: ‘They Humiliate You, And Treat You Like Animals, Worse Than a Dog’

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Wang Qingying (R) is shown following his release from prison. Photo courtesy of Xi Sen

A rights activist, one of the Guangzhou Three, recently released from prison in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, says he is having trouble returning to normal life, detailing ongoing restrictions on his movements and a lack of income. Wang Qingying, who was sentenced on Jan. 29, 2016 by the Intermediate People’s Court in Guangdong’s provincial capital Guangzhou alongside Tang Jingling and Yuan Xinting, spoke to RFA following his release at the end of his two-and-a-half year sentence, most of which was served in pretrial detention:

RFA: So how have things been for you since you got out of prison?

A: I can only make phone calls, but I can’t get online. They have blocked it. I spend the whole time at home, and never go out.

RFA: How are you getting by now?

A: Life is very difficult. We need a place to live, but I worry that the police will visit my employers if I get a job, and so on. We are hoping to avoid this sort of thing happening.

RFA: How do you feel now about having been in prison?

A: Actually I feel very honored to have been in jail, but I don’t deserve that much glory. I haven’t really achieved very much. A lot of people have achieved a lot, but they didn’t go to jail. Those sorts of people are admirable too. It’s not right that people should have to sacrifice too much. It’s important to be wise in the way we carry out the struggle for democracy. It’s not just a question of shouting a few slogans.

RFA: How did your treatment in prison affect you?

A: I did suffer a bit in prison, if truth be told. I was tortured and mistreated. Every time I saw a guard, I would have to squat down beside them. That’s how they humiliate you. They stripped me naked when I first got there, in front of all the people, a handful or dozens, it didn’t matter. They treat people like animals. We were treated worse than dogs. It violates a person’s dignity, and attacks their self-esteem. Of course I protested against it, and so they beat me up so bad it seemed they were going to kill me.

RFA: Did your wife tell you how much support and solidarity was expressed for you internationally?

A: She didn’t want to mention it to me, because it was a nightmare, and so we basically don’t talk about these things. She had to take care of the family [while I was in jail] and also cope with all sorts of other things like family pressure, pressure from her boss, harassment and intrusions of all kinds. I think we can say that it was a terrifying time for her, and she often had bad dreams at night.

Reported by Xin Lin for RFA’s Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.