An account of abduction and interrogation in Bejing
I went to China to visit my family during the Chinese New Year since my father is in poor health. On Jan. 24, 2004, which was my birthday, two local police officers knocked on my parent’s door around 9:30 a.m., and demanded my passport. I thought they wanted to know my identity, yet one officer wanted to take my passport away. Eventually my brother went to the police station with the men and made a copy of my passport. During that time he discovered that many police were looking for me.I told my brother that I did not feel good about seeing the Chinese police, because they have a bad reputation. I called the American Embassy to report this incident to one of the on duty officers. He then referred me to Greg Marcus who handles American citizen matters. Greg was not available at the time.Around 3 p.m., my sister and her husband came to pick me up to take me to my birthday gathering which was at my elder brother’s house. We left my parent’s house in my brother-in-law’s car. We noticed a black car following us very closely. The American consul Greg Marcus called on my cell phone at this time. I answered and told him there was a black car following us, and before I finished the conversation with Greg, three black vehicles cornered us next to a bridge. All of a sudden the entire street was full of unidentified people. Some of these people knocked on my car window, some tried to grab my cell phone, and some started to drag my sister and her husband out of their car. My cell phone was taken away by force, and one man popped the battery out, and put my cell phone in his pocket. He started to push me to the middle of the back seat, while another man got in the car and pushed me from the other side, so I was being sandwiched in between the two men in the center of the back seat. At the same time another agent took over my brother-in-law’s car and started driving. One of the vehicles was a black SUV, our car followed the SUV, and two other black cars followed my car. The man with my cell phone talked to someone with a walkie talkie, and reported to the other party that they got me. A female agent was in front of our car video taping the incident.While we were driving, I asked the man to return my cell phone, I told him I was talking to the American Embassy when he took my phone away. He didn’t seem to care. I also asked who they were and I didn’t get any answer. I then asked, “Where are we were going? The man said, “You’ll see.”The ride was at a crazy speed, and the drivers ignored the red lights. Ten to fifteen minutes later, all vehicles arrived at Daxing Hotel. They ordered me to room 718, where there were at least 20 agents lined up at both sides of the front gate waiting for me. The same female agent was filming while I was getting out of the car and walking towards the hotel room.A medium-built man wearing glasses with messy hair sat on my right hand side, I asked who he was and who did he work for? He said he’s name was “Liu,” which is a common Chinese family name, but he didn’t say who he worked for. There were four or five agents in the room. Liu opened the conversation as such: “I’m representing the country talking to you; it’s for the goodness of you, your family and the country…”I told him I didn’t quite understand what he was trying to say. He then asked if I knew why I was being brought in, I said I didn’t know, but two police men came to my parents’ house this morning. He then started to threaten me by saying they knew everything I do in the States, and they’ve been watching and spying on me for a while, and so on. I answered, if you knew everything, why don’t you tell me what you know? Liu insisted he needed to know my attitude. Then he asked if I ever sent Falun Gong related materials to China. I answered, “Yes, because my friends in China would like to know why before Jiang Zemin banned Falun Gong in China, there were so many positive reports from the Chinese media about Falun Gong’s health benefits and mental improvements, but after the persecution, there were stories about people being set on fire on Tiananmen square and mentally unstable people killing others. Were these later stories fabrications in order to frame Falun Gong practitioners and smear their reputation?” I then stated, “There are large numbers of people in 50 different countries practicing Falun Gong including white Americans yet why they don’t behave that way?”Around 7:30 p.m., they tried to let me go but withheld my passport. I demanded my passport, and I told them, “I’ll not leave until I have my passport.” In addition, I told them that I need to talk to the American Embassy, and I need my cell phone back. They ignored my request completely. They also tried to confiscate my personal electronics, I also demanded them back. They finally returned my passport and my personal electronics before they released me which was around 1:30 2 a.m. the next morning.After more harassment I was able to leave China, but only with the help of the American Embassy and my lawyer, plus my American fiance traveling all the way to China after the incident.This incident is very alarming and upsetting for me and my loved ones, and for other Americans like me with business affairs and extended family in China. On one hand, China is trying to improve its image and prepare for the Olympic 2008, yet on another hand, they abduct an American and hold her against her will in a hotel room for over 10 hours, there is no tolerance for freedom of belief and freedom of conscious in China even for an American.Leejun Ivie is a Chinese-born American living in Vail who follows the ways of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.” The practice is considered a “cult” by the Chinese government and has been outlawed in that country.