Wang Cheng woke me the next day at 7:37 a.m. and told me to hurry up and prepare my complaint so that we could all go to the procuratorate together. I went groggily into the bathroom to start washing up, when I heard sounds of a tussle outside. Before I could open the bathroom door, it burst open and several men in plain clothes and two men wearing para-police uniforms dragged me out of the bathroom and told me to grab my bag and go with them. As I got my things together, I demanded that they show me their identification and protested their use of force. After they rudely refused, they forced me into an elevator and, grabbing me by the neck, shoved me into a white vehicle with no police markings. Shortly thereafter, Wang Cheng was also brought into the same vehicle as me. He was shouting: “I’m a lawyer! I’m handling a case! You’re kidnapping me!” At the time, there were a number of onlookers.
We were taken to an office block with a sign designating it as Daxing Branch PSB. The whole way, Wang Cheng and I were explaining that we were lawyers engaged in proper professional activities, but we were both ignored. In truth, it was very clear to me that we were faced with para-police officers with no law-enforcement powers, and their lack of legal understanding meant that they were in no position to respond to our questions. About a half-hour later, Tang Jitian and Jiang Tianyong were brought in as well. Past 9 a.m., still no one had shown us any identification or explained why we had been summoned, but we were ordered one-by-one to open up our bags for a search and photograph and video. Our mobile phones had of course already been snatched from us in the car, which meant that we could only protest and had no way to call for help to the outside or call the 110 police hotline.
At about 10 a.m., my questioning commenced and my misfortunes began. As a para-police officer made a big show of giving me fierce looks and berating me, I again demanded that he and the middle-aged man sitting next to him show me their identification. The man said, “You want identification, do you?” I nodded, and he instructed the para-police officer, “Go get Yu Wenbo.” Yu Wenbo came in and asked, “You want identification?” I said, “Yes.” He then said, “Let’s go! I’ll show you identification upstairs.” Then, flanked by the two of them, I was taken from the interrogation room upstairs to a meeting room on the second floor.
As Yu made a show of looking for his identification, the guy behind me (maybe surnamed Li, I’m not sure) closed the door. Before I had a chance to react, Yu smacked me around the head seven or eight times. The next thing I knew, he was hitting me in the head with a big half-full bottle of spring water. Desperate, I shouted: “I’m being beaten by a police! I’m being beaten by a guobao! I’m being beaten by Yu Wenbo!” Then the man behind me got in the action. The two of them knocked me down and kicked and beat me for at least three minutes. Under their blows, I could only protect my head and keep shouting. By the time someone heard and came in, I couldn’t sit up and the slightest movement caused unbearable pain in my lower back.
I knew that my back was injured, and at the time I didn’t even have the strength to lift my head to look at the guy who came in—the guy they said understood the law. I knew that he couldn’t really do the right thing on my behalf, and in this sense he did not disappoint. He merely said a few words and left. Unable to contain my fury, I spoke the most severe words of my life, saying: “Yu Wenbo, you better kill me if you have the balls. Otherwise, I won’t cooperate and you can forget about a statement. Then, if I’m not dead, I’ll press charges against you until my dying day!”
He seemed unperturbed by this threat and said, “Just wait. In a moment, we’ll put you under criminal detention, then you’ll be shot.” Etc., etc. Then, he called in a para-police officer surnamed Ma to watch me and left me there.
At noon, I asked to eat lunch and was told: “None of us have eaten and you expect to eat?” In the evening, I asked to eat dinner and was told: “We haven’t prepared anything for you.” Up until nearly 1 a.m. the next day (22 March), someone surnamed Yao came to say I could have a bowl of instant noodles, but in severe pain and having not had anything to eat or drink all day, I had no appetite.
Faced with hard and soft pressure, plus the fact that I was in unbearable pain, I reluctantly agreed to go submit to questioning. But I clearly told them that I would not sign any statement that violated my conscience or ran contrary to the facts, and I would not cater to their needs.