While most of us were enjoying the Olympics, this poor fellow was enjoying China’s famed hospitality from a different angle.
NEW YORK—When Jeffrey Rae, a 28-year-old East Village resident and communications worker for local labor unions was approached by Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) to go to China during the Olympics to document a series of planned protests, he agreed. Little did he know that he was about to get a first-hand look at the intolerance of China’s security forces when dealing with public protests.
Rae agreed to go to China even though he had not been involved in previous Tibetan activities. “To be honest, I really didn’t know much about Tibet,” said Rae. But he agreed to go, he said, “Mainly because I’m very concerned with freedom of the press, and from what they told me, no one was going to cover them because it’s too dangerous.”
“When we got to the corner of the main street, there were about 40 police officers waiting for us, and a bunch of people with video and still cameras … Later I was told by someone in the detention center that we were on CCTV,” said Rae. The police apprehended the three men—Rae, Tom Grant, and James Powderly—and demanded their passports and cell phones.
Apprehended and Interrogated
They were taken to a nearby hotel and interrogated separately in basement conference rooms. After a 20-minute interrogation, they were then transported to another hotel at about 2:00 a.m. They were then subjected to a 22-hour interrogation until the following night at about midnight.
Rae described his main interrogator as a male police officer in his 30s with bad teeth and a mean streak. He shouted into Rae’s face in Chinese; his questions were then translated into English for Rae.
“They wanted every detail of every day I had been in China” … They wanted to know who I had sent photos to,” and mostly they wanted the passwords to Rae’s cell phone and laptop, which he had locked with password protection.
“The fact that we were creating content pictures or video and then distributing that content—that to them was a far worse crime then anybody who had dropped a banner or held a sign.”
Rae refused to give the police the passwords, which made them very angry. One interrogator stood menacingly in front of Rae with a steel bar in his hand. He also hit him on the shoulder with an open hand. “I don’t want to exaggerate what happened,” said Rae, “but after having been awake so long, it’s difficult to get hit like that.”
At one point, Rae asked his interrogator what was going to happen to him. “We’re not sure if we want to slit your throat or shoot you,” was the answer he was given.
Read the whole thing and pass it on. Believe me, it gets worse.