Missing reporter tells wife he's back in China

BEIJING -- The wife of a Chinese journalist who disappeared while seeking asylum abroad said she was able to speak to him by phone Wednesday and he told her he had voluntarily returned to China for investigation, but she believes he was forced back and spoke against his own will.

See Full Article

Li Xin's disappearance in Thailand is the latest example of Beijing's increasingly strong reach beyond the mainland for people wanted by authorities.

His wife, He Fangmei, said she spoke with him after being summoned to a police station to receive his call.

Several people believed to be wanted by Chinese authorities have disappeared over the past year while overseas or in Hong Kong, and some critics allege that Chinese agents are abducting them without proper authorization to bring them to the mainland for interrogation.

"Beijing used to take into account foreign governments and respect other countries' laws, but in tandem with its rising strengthen in economy and expanding political influence, Beijing is becoming more overt in its operations and feels it can lord over some neighbouring countries," veteran dissident Hu Jia said.

Li fled China in October and told the AP in an interview from India that he left because he had been forced to spy on fellow journalists, and that he wanted to stop. He later sought shelter in Thailand before disappearing Jan. 11.

"He won't tell me where he is in China, but asks me to stay rested and live my life. He asks me not to contact any outsider for it does no good to him or me," his wife said in a voice and text message exchange with AP from the Henan province town of Xinxiang. "But I know that's the pattern, and Li completely spoke contrary to his own will."

Local police reached by phone said they had no knowledge of the case.

The case shows the "growing length of the Chinese government's long arm beyond its borders" in cracking down on dissenters both at home and abroad, said Maya Wang, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch.

Last October, a publisher of the Hong Kong gossip publishing house Mighty Current vanished from his apartment in Pattaya, a Thai beach resort. Gui Minhai resurfaced in January on China's state broadcaster CCTV, where he said he returned to China to turn himself in for an old crime.

Four other members of the publishing house also disappeared one by one. The last one was Lee Bo, who was believed to have been picked up while in Hong Kong, although he has sent notes to his wife that claimed he returned to the mainland voluntarily.

Pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmakers and human rights activists allege they were abducted by Chinese agents, and that any such detentions in Hong Kong violates the territory's autonomy under the "one country, two systems" model.

Beijing also has managed to have the Thai government repatriate dissidents and Uighur refugees.

When a 16-year-old son of a detained rights lawyer tried to flee the country after his passport was confiscated, Chinese agents were able to track his escape route and nabbed him in Myanmar. Bao Zhuoxuan has since been brought back to China and placed under house arrest, while his mother faces the charge of state subversion and his father the charge of inciting state subversion.

State media outlets then told a story of how Beijing rescued a misled teenager from being illegally smuggled out of the country.

In the latest case, Li was riding a train from Bangkok to Nong Khai in northeastern Thailand, where he planned to cross over into Laos and then re-enter Thailand for visa reasons, his wife said. Li was seeking refugee status in Thailand.

His wife said she had been banned from leaving China and was recently sent back from the border city of Shenzhen to their hometown in the central province of Henan. There, she was told she would soon hear from Li.

On Wednesday, she was summoned to a police station and the call from her husband came through on a police landline. The incoming number was not shown, she said.

Disappearances are a cunning tactic to subdue the activists, said Hu, the dissident.

"First of all, when someone just disappears, it's impossible for lawyers and family members to intervene," Hu said.

It also places "huge psychological pressure" on relatives unsure of the status of their loved one, as well as opening the detained person to possible torture and mistreatment that could alter their personality and outlook, Hu said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Judge in Hawaii extends order blocking Trump's travel ban

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- A federal judge in Hawaii decided Wednesday to extend his order blocking U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban, preventing the government from suspending new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries and halting the U.S. Source
  • American Airlines pilot dies after medical episode on flight

    World News CTV News
    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- An American Airlines pilot died after having a medical episode just before landing in Albuquerque. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the captain declared a medical emergency on flight 1353 a couple of minutes before landing at Albuquerque International Sunport on Wednesday evening. Source
  • Polar bear photographed 'praying' next to cross

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    WESLEYVILLE, N.L. — Jessica Power says she was “beyond amazed” when she saw a polar bear roaming around an island just outside her window in a small community on Newfoundland’s central coast and appearing to pray. The 22-year-old photographer grabbed her camera and began snapping off 200 pictures as the large animal clambered up a hill to a white cross perched on top of the barren island. Source
  • Putin ready to meet Trump in Finland if it hosts summit

    World News Toronto Sun
    MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin on Thursday voiced readiness to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump at an upcoming Arctic summit, while reiterating rejections of allegations that Russian meddled in the U.S. presidential election. It wasn’t the first time Putin floated the idea of a meeting with Trump. Source
  • Deputies: Florida boy, 4, recovering after shooting himself

    World News CTV News
    ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. -- Authorities say a 4-year-old Florida boy is expected to recover after he apparently accidentally shot himself in the stomach. Pasco County Sheriff's spokeswoman Melanie Snow said in a news release that the shooting happened Wednesday night in a home in Zephyrhills, which is near Tampa on Florida's west coast. Source
  • North Carolina girl, 5, suspended for recess make-believe game in which she used a stick 'gun'

    World News Toronto Sun
    Caitlin Miller's teachers took her to the principal's office on Friday and the 5-year-old did not understand why. She had been playing with her best friends during recess at her Raeford, North Carolina, school playground, just like any other day. Source
  • Several mutilated animals found dumped near Brandon, Man.

    Canada News CTV News
    The RCMP is looking into several gruesome discoveries of animal carcasses left mutilated by the side of the road near Brandon, Man. At least six animals have been found dumped in a rural municipality outside Brandon. Source
  • Mother accused of sitting on child’s head

    World News Toronto Sun
    MARIETTA, Ga. — Prosecutors say a suburban Atlanta woman accused of sitting on her 2-year-old son’s head to gain his submission has been indicted on a charge of first-degree child cruelty. News outlets report the Cobb County District Attorney’s office said Wednesday a grand jury returned the charge against Susan Elizabeth Kelley on March 23. Source
  • Teacher reportedly suspended for racy Facebook selfie

    World News Toronto Sun
    A British teacher’s racy Facebook selfie is being blamed for her removal from a private school north of London. Students at Ousedale secondary say Lydia Ferguson was reprimanded and escorted off the property last week, according to The Telegraph. Source
  • British teacher reportedly suspended for racy Facebook selfie

    World News Toronto Sun
    A British teacher’s racy Facebook selfie is being blamed for her removal from a private school north of London. Students at Ousedale secondary say Lydia Ferguson was reprimanded and escorted off the property last week, according to The Telegraph. Source