By Beth Main.
Meng Zhaohong, a Beijing woman who has been petitioning for better subway safety, was detained by police on Friday night because she ‘disturbed social order’. Meng, whose son died in 2010 after falling onto the tracks at Gulou station and being electrocuted, has been petitioning around the Beijing subway for the last three weeks.
On Friday night at Fuxingmen Station, where she was displaying posters for her petition, Meng was asked to leave by police, and when she refused they manhandled her until she fell to the ground and cried. This attracted the attention of passengers and the police desisted until Meng’s lawyer arrived.
She was then arrested and detained at a police station for six and a half hours until early Saturday morning.
She has been documenting her actions on Weibo since 2010 and has over 65,000 followers. Police deny that there is CCTV footage of her son falling onto the tracks two years ago and so her son’s death has remained a mystery.
Her son Mayue was only 22 when he died, he had been studying English at university. Prior to her arrest, Meng had been going to different stations along Line 2 in an attempt to collect 10,000 signatures to improve subway safety measures in memory of her son. Despite the police turning up every time she petitions at a station, this is the first time they have detained. Nevertheless she reportedly has more than 5,000 signatures. In this letter she wrote to her recently deceased son she promises to make Beijing a safer city.