Two weeks ago, by chance I came across an incident in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen where a Chinese man was arrested for protesting against Deng Xiao Ping, in front of the famous poster of Deng Xiao Ping in the city centre. I quickly managed to take a photo- (shown below) which clearly shows the protestor, who seemed to be around his mid-30s, being led into the Police car. The policeman sitting in the front seat is reading the poster which has just been confiscated from the protestor. The Chinese man defiantly stood in front of the Deng Xiao Ping portrait and shouted loud slogans against Deng, and his reasons of why Deng was a bad man. After repeated calls by the Police for the protestor to stop and give up, he was finally arrested after an hour’s standoff and taken to the Shenzhen Detention centre in the Meilin district of the city. Another Policeman, who initially took the call from a member of the public, told me that he will get anything between 2 and 4 years- and most likely with no need for any trial, because the Police already have all the evidence and there is no need for defense.
I have never at first hand seen or heard about a local Chinese man protesting like this. Chinese people rarely openly protest against their government leaders (dead or alive). It is indeed rare, and so this has led me to believe that either this man is 1. In serious determination to make his strong viewpoint against Deng Xiao Ping; OR, 2. (I hate to say this), but he could have some mental illness. I am speculating this second point because of his refusal to stop protesting and the "childish" way in which he was stubborn to continue protesting. If one saw his behavior, it would actually have been comparable to a young sulking child. Something did not seem right. Also, I am wondering why is he protesting now (in 2009 I mean), and why not in the early 1980s when the great Deng Xiao Ping declared Shenzhen a great city for free trade zone.
I never got to know the man's name. In actual fact that same morning, before I came across this incident, I happened to witness 3 other arrests- all of which were acts of thefts/pick-pocketing by petty criminals on the K204 bus during the morning rush hour. I got onto the rather empty K204 in Nanshan (Shekou Walmart), but around 10 stops down the route, the bus will fully packed with passengers having to push each other to "squeeze" into the bus (it is normal in big cities to witness this). Everything seemed normal, and then suddenly all I heard was two plain clothed young men shouting and holding down the culprit, handcuffed him and led him off the bus at the next stop. To my surprise all the other passengers seemed to be calm, and not in any panic. Taking into account that only a few weeks ago I had lost my Digital Camera in Kunming (at the CITM in November), I was not taking any risks at all. It prompted me to keep a close watch on my pockets and Camera. It all sounds some movie, but in reality these thieves do work in teams of 2 or 3. This is so that when the bus stops, they all run in different directions, hence neatly avoiding being caught easily.
To see one arrest on a fully packed bus is shocking enough, but to see 3 on the same bus route is something new. I never came across this before, even in my previous 5 years I have lived in China. On the whole China is a much safer country to live in than the UK (this is true and from my own personal experience). Its just that because of the New Year holiday so some people from the rural areas come to big cities and will take anything they lay eyes on (it happens everywhere around the world- read my November blog article about London!).
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