We’re not sure if this has anything to do with this earlier story, but Beijing police do seem intent to really CLEAN UP the city in time for the Olympics. In a massive raid on Sanlitun recently, the city’s popular nightlife area, Beijing police have arrested 20 people (including eight foreigners) and many young people are said to be shaken. Blogger Beijing Boyce happened to be in the vicinity, and observed:
1) this raid was much more coordinated that the one last October; 2) given the numerous photographers, it was meant to send a very public message; 3) now is not the time to be acting recklessly in Beijing; and 4) it’s a good idea to have your identification papers with you… [read more]
I think this whole thing was stupid and unnecessary. Especially that they approached us with guns, they had no right to come running at us and point with their guns at us and shout “sit down” and “shut up”.
And as well they didn’t even make us empty our pockets. What kind of drug raid is that where they just watch you sit on the ground and as soon as you move you just get shouted at and you have guns pointed at you. Even my friend that was inside pure girl didn’t get touched. they only searched the guys.
That night scared me so badly and just seeing the police running at us with those big black guns, that image is stuck in my head now…
Here’s a quick translation of an article by Mathilde Bonnassieux from Aujourd’hui la Chine (Today China), dated April 8th, which sums up current sentiments among the local French community (especially in the French school) pretty well. Also, a Beijing Channel 3 video of the said police raid:
Police descend on a Beijing bar, French community in disarray
The forceful apprehending of young French expatriates last Saturday did not go unnoticed among the Beijing French community. Opinions diverge. Reactions and update a few days after the incident:
On Monday 7th, conversations were making good progress at the end of the school day in front of the gates of Beijing’s French School. The main topic of discussion among high-school students was the police raid in a bar they often visit.
People were still amazed by the violence of the police intervention, and all were blaming one another. “We perfectly know on which grounds we’re treading when going into that bar. The whole of high-school goes there. If you keep playing with fire…” – “Still, it is shocking!” – “You’re right, no one would have expected such violence.”
At the request of a group of parents and teachers, the headmaster talked to 10th and 12th graders, in small groups, and reminded them to always carry their IDs, to avoid dangerous places and to respect the law.
Parents were all privy to the facts over the weekend and their opinions differ too. Most have chosen to be cautious about it all. After all, the “intervention” is not that dramatic. If there’s anyone to blame, it should be the parents. “I don’t think it’s normal for parents to give their children complete freedom like that, everyone knows there are drug issues.” “We live in China, we know the authorities here are serious about drugs.”
Others are more worried. “We’re shocked. It’s true policemen are everywhere these days. Two days ago my husband was apprehended on his way out of an hotel. Alcohol test. His driving license was revoked.” But few denounce the operation as unjustified. A mother of three high-school students say: “I have been told some kids were mistreated, with marks of beating on them. The real issue is to know the law. There is a rule, and it should be implemented. Minors are forbidden access to bars, fine, but this law should be clearly written out. It is the parents’ responsibility to see that their children be treated properly. Of course, I don’t mean to encourage drug consumption, but the rule of law has to be applied. Our children must not be treated abusively under Chinese law, that’s all.”
One student still behind bars
Meanwhile, two aggravated assault reports have been drawn up but no complaint was officially filed.
The 19-year-old high-school student was positively tested for marijuana and is still detained by the Chinese authorities. He was transferred to a suburban Beijing prison facility in the south, where he will spend 14 days. His father was allowed to visit him, accompanied by a representative from the French Consulate. “I was relieved to see him. He’s holding his own. He is in a prison cell with 7 other people but conditions are fine. I told him to exercise.”
However, it was the only authorized visit. He now has to wait for the end of his son’s detention to see him again. Then it will be another matter. “I’m an optimist. On the positive side, it is not a judicial matter – his record will still be clear. On the other hand, nothing tells us that he won’t be escorted to the airport for expulsion after the fourteen days. I only hope he’ll be able to take his baccalaureate in June.”
The final answer all depends on the good will of the Chinese authorities, who are said to be intransigent in these matters.
Kenneth Tan contributed to this story.
Also on Shanghaiist
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