Writer Hao Qun, who turned himself in to police because he "commemorated Tiananmen," was released yesterday
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Novelist Hao Qun was released by police last night, after he had turned himself for issuing a statement in which he had acknowledged that he had commemorated Tiananmen, together with other scholars and activists who were later jailed.
Hao Qun (better known by his pen name and social media handle 'Murong Xuecun') wanted to be at a meeting held in the capital in early May, but was in Australia at the University of Sydney. Instead, he sent an essay about the crackdown to the gathering. At least four participants were detained, interrogated and placed in solitary confinement.
"Reciting such an essay at a private gathering can violate China's laws. By the government's logic, I, too, have committed the crime of 'picking quarrels and provoking trouble', he wrote in his column for The New York Times on 22 May. For this reason, he decided to turn himself in to police.
On July 5, upon his return to Beijing, he criticised on his blog the detention of friends who had attended the seminar.
"I have done the same thing as they [did], and should not enjoy any sort of exemption," he wrote in his confession.
He also challenged the police: "I will stay at home in the next 24 hours waiting for arrest," he wrote.
Three days later, police summoned Hao for a "cup of tea". They scolded him for making a public confession, but released him at midnight.
For several years, in order to bury the memory of Tiananmen, the government has arrested dozens of activists, lawyers, university professors, and dissidents.
Hao Qun's case is very significant. In the past 30 years, this is the first time that an intellectual turns himself into police, asking to be arrested in order to share the fate of his comrades.
However, the novelist is well known and perhaps the police let him go, fearing too much publicity.