Hua Yong: Chinese artist freed in time for daughter’s birthday

Hua Yong: Chinese artist freed in time for daughter's birthday


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Li Huaping/Twitter

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An elated Hua Yong was reunited with his daughter

A Chinese artist who was arrested after posting videos about Beijing’s controversial mass evictions has been released on bail, according to friends.

Hua Yong had filmed a widely-shared farewell video to his daughter before his arrest on Saturday, saying he would not make it for her birthday.

But activists said he was freed on Monday evening and was reunited with his family in Chengdu city.

They also posted video clips showing him at her birthday celebration.

The Beijing-based painter had posted several videos on social media in recent weeks actively documenting the city’s mass evictions and interviewing displaced residents.

Following police threats he fled the Chinese capital, but was later tracked down by authorities and arrested over the weekend, an incident which he documented in several posts on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Though these social media services are blocked in China, many activists circumvent the bans using virtual private networks.

On Monday evening, activist Li Huaping posted on Twitter pictures of an elated Hua Yong reunited with his young daughter near the airport in Chengdu.

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The artist was seen celebrating his daughter’s third birthday

He also posted pictures of Hua Yong’s bail documents which say that the artist was being investigated for “gathering a crowd to cause a disturbance to traffic order”.

Several videos circulating on Twitter showed Hua Yong celebrating his daughter’s third birthday at a restaurant with his friends.

“I’m not a hero, all I did was film the truth… if speaking the truth makes you a hero, then China is such a scary place!” he says in one video.

In another, he says: “Thank you everyone, let’s all work hard to speak the truth… And happy birthday to my daughter! Let’s light the candles!”

Days before his arrest, Hua Yong had documented a protest by evicted migrants in Beijing.

Following a deadly fire last month, Beijing officials launched a campaign to demolish unsafe and illegal structures, many of which house the city’s sizeable low-income migrant worker population.

The government says the drive is necessary to improve building safety, but has been criticised for making thousands of workers homeless in the middle of winter.


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