Chinese police broke into the home of Wenguang Sun, a retired professor who is critical of China's human rights record as he was expressing his opinions on a Voice of America (VOA) Mandarin TV show. https://t.co/3TNNgfT3n8 pic.twitter.com/S1J65p4TvY— The Voice of America (@VOANews) August 2, 2018
A retired Chinese professor, who has previously made headlines for criticizing the regime for its human rights abuses, was forcefully taken off-air after law enforcement officials broke into his home in the eastern province of Shandong while he was in the middle of a live phone interview with the Voice of America.
Wenguang Sun, who used to teach at the Shandong University, was expressing his opinion on Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent expensive trip to Africa during the broadcaster’s Mandarin program “Issues & Opinions” when security forces abruptly cut him off.
“The police are here to interrupt again,” he complained to the interviewer after the police arrived.
The 80-year-old activist sounded alarmed as seven or eight officer entered his home.
“What, did I say anything wrong? Listen to what I say, is it wrong?” Wenguang can be heard saying in the video above. “People are poor. Let's not throw our money in Africa. The seven, eight of you here, listen up, throwing money like this is of no good to our country and society. It's of no good.”
“What are you doing? What are you doing? Let me tell you, it's illegal for you to come to my home,” Sun shouted. “I am entitled to my freedom of speech!”
That’s when the line went dead.
No one has heard anything from him yet, despite Voice of America’s several attempts to reach Sun by phone and on social media.
Some reports suggests the professor, who was detained twice for 30 months during the Cultural Revolution, is currently under house arrest.
“While details about this incident are still not confirmed, VOA is monitoring the situation closely and will provide an update to program viewers once more information becomes available,” VOA spokeswoman Bridget Serchak said in a statement. “As stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Sun has along history of raising his voice against the atrocities committed by the Chinese government. In 2009, he was brutally assaulted for visiting the grave site of former Communist party chief Zhao Ziyang. He was 75-years-old at the time.
The regime has also repeatedly denied his requests for a passport, rendering him unable to leave the country.
Banner / Thumbnail : Alexander Tessmer / EyeEm, Getty Images