On November 11, following the arrest of Ren Zhiqiang, China’s real estate tycoon, Xu Zhangrun, a professor at Tsinghua University, and Geng Xiaonan, a publisher who openly supported a dissident law professor, Sun Dawu, a 66 year old businessman from Hebei province, was also arrested. The charge was for alleged “disorderly behavior and the sabotage of business operations” over a land dispute. State media reported that the homes of 28 members of the senior management team of the Dawu Group, including Sun’s wife, son and daughter-in-law were raided overnight.
On November 15, Han Lianchao posted on his twitter account that Sun Dawu is a well-known farmer and businessman and is highly respected in China. After his arrest, the Internet in China was flooded with people’s reactions. Not only did people from the legal and the economic communities, the news media, and private business circles express their support for Sun in a number of different ways. They vaguely and strongly called attention to Sun’s arrest. Han also published an article a netizen from China wrote commenting on Sun’s arrest. It summarized the following four reasons why Sun was arrested:
1. He disregarded the unspoken rules. Sun always speaks the truth and refuses to collude with the party officials from the county, the provincial level and the Ministry of Agriculture. He therefore offended the officials.
2. He was Involved in a land dispute. When a state-owned farm tried to take land from the villagers, the Dawu group tried to intervene. The state-owned farm and the officials from the local county sent people to demolish the Dawu group’s building and got into a physical fight with the workers from Sun’s companies.
3. He openly comments on reform and supports constitutional democracy. Sun is sympathetic to the rights lawyers and to dissidents.
4. He owns 28 subsidiary companies. All of them are well managed and successful. They even donated money to build a hospital and schools and the locals favored them.
The article stated that people know what right and wrong are. Totalitarian tyrannies can suppress the public voice but they can’t silence it. Violent suppression will only make China’s peaceful transformation less likely. In facing future social transformation, having blood shed could be inevitable.
1. Twitter: Han Lianchao, November 15, 2020
— 韩连潮 (@lianchaohan) November 15, 2020
2. Sina, November 13, 2020