Smashing window and sending death threats, landlord tries to evict Beijing lawyer

In a bid to evict prominent rights lawyer Li Heping from his Beijing home, the landlord smashed a window of his apartment and issued a death threat, Li’s wife told Radio Free Asia on Monday.
The owner of the apartment rented by the family in the Tongzhou district on the outskirts of Beijing brought about a dozen people to their home on Sunday evening, pelting the window with stones and smashing a large pane, leaving shards of glass inside the room, according to a video clip shared by Li’s wife Wang Qiaoling, 
"The landlord [told us] "If you don"t leave, you will be killed," saying that we have to move out in the next two weeks," Wang said. "We"ve already paid the rent [in advance], so we should have the right to use the property for the entire contract period."
The incident is the latest in a slew of actions by Beijing police and local officials, who have targeted the families of prominent rights attorneys and other activists in a bid to get them to leave the city where they have made their home, and where their children attend school.
"The landlord said he had broken a window pane on his own property," she said, adding that the family had been in the new property for less than a month after being forced to leave their old home following similar harassment. "This is ridiculous."
Police involvement?
Wang accused the landlord of being in cahoots with police, and was likely acting with their tacit approval.
"Clearly, [the police] have been talking to the landlord about this, because the landlord keeps saying, "If you don"t like it, sue me,’" she said. "They must have struck some kind of agreement with the police."
A local police officer told Li Heping after the incident that there was no evidence of wrongdoing.
The window of the apartment of rights lawyer Li Heping and his wife, Wang Qiaoling, was broken Sunday by their landlord, the couple told RFA. Credit: Provided by Wang Qiaoling
"This is a tenancy dispute, which is a civil dispute," the officer said in a video clip posted to Wang Qiaoling’s Twitter account. "You can negotiate to try to reach an agreement, and failing that, you can take it to court and sue them."
Asked if it was legal to commit acts of violence to drive people out of their property, the officer responded: "The landlord has the right to demolish what he wants -- this isn"t violence. He can do whatever he wants with his own property."
Pressure on others
Beijing police have also put further pressure on fellow rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang and his family, after the authorities cut off their utilities, forcing them to leave their apartment in Shunyi district.
"I haven"t found stable accommodation yet," Wang Quanzhang told Radio Free Asia on Monday. "If I can"t manage to find something stable in Beijing, it will be a huge problem."
He said even if the family complies with Beijing police demands that they relocate to his birthplace in the eastern province of Shandong, there is no guarantee that they will be left in peace by the local authorities once they settle there, either.
"Things could get even worse if they send me to Shandong," he said. "For now, I"m still trying to find somewhere [in Beijing], because even though they give us trouble, it"s still better than anywhere else."
But he said Beijing police seem particularly determined to get them to leave the city this time, compared with previous attempts at eviction and forcible relocation.
Earlier this month, Beijing police refused an attempt to forcibly relocate Wuhan citizen journalist Fang Bin at the end of a three-year jail term for reporting from the front line of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, putting him back aboard a train for Wuhan within hours of his arrival.
Fang was turned around and sent back again as the authorities stepped up "stability maintenance" measures aimed at getting rid of other politically sensitive figures who have made their homes in the capital.
Translated by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Malcolm Foster.


不想錯過? 請追蹤FB專頁!    
前一頁 後一頁