Zhang Wen on Yang Hengjun’s Disappearance

UPDATE: A friend of Yang Hengjun’s is suggesting that he’s now free. Where he’s been is unclear, but I expect we’ll hear in detail from Yang himself sooner or later.

The following is a translation of this post from journalist Zhang Wen’s popular blog.


Yang Hengjun disappeared on March 27, and there has been no news from him since ((Actually, he called a relative and told her that he was “chatting with old friends,” which she says is a code for “arrested.”)) According to his blog manager, that night he received a call from Yang saying that three people were following him. After that he never got back in touch.

On March 28, when I saw this news on the net, I was shocked; I truly couldn’t believe my eyes. On the 26th, I had met up with him and had a chat. In the past, I recommended his book “Jiaguo Tianxia”, and he had agreed to give me a signed copy and present it to me when he got to Beijing this trip.

During the meal [on the 26th], Dr. Xu Zhiyong, mentioned lawyer Teng Biao had been taken away [by police], and everyone felt very sad. Only brother [Yang] Hengjun was still smiling and trying to console us. Who could have known that just the next day, it would be his turn to “have an accident.”

Thinking about that now, it’s really hard to focus. After the lunch ended, we all went our separate ways. I went to Houhai to meet up with some family and have a little fun. In the warm afternoon sun and spring breeze, I flipped idly through “Jiaguo Tianxia,” and I was moved again by the warm, loving, sincere, and powerful words.

Honestly, I didn’t understand brother [Yang] Hengjun’s complex background until now; I first learned that he had become an Australian citizen from the BBC News report. But that’s not important to me, I could feel his love for his homeland even years ago, reading his doctoral thesis. His complaints and criticisms aren’t “griping without cause”, they’re not “willfully stirring up trouble”, they’re always very pointedly looking forward to reforms and the end of officials’ malpractice.

What was Brother Hengjun’s crime? At the moment, we do not know, and no one is coming forward to explain it. But I think that if a person disappears, whether they’re a foreigner or they’re Chinese, there should at least be an explanation provided. I’ve heard that Yang Hengjun’s friends and family have filed a report with the police station at the Guangzhou airport, and are asking us all to pay attention to this case.

Note: As the situation is not yet clear, please exercise restraint in your comments. We already enjoy our socialist rule of law, we must trust that our nation’s legal system is a shield to protect its citizens.

If there is time, I may come back to this post later today and add some translated comments from Zhang Wen’s post