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Ottawa Sun: Embassy attack probed by cops

January 03, 2002 |   By Nathalie Trepanier

January 2, 2002

OTTAWA police are investigating a possible assault at the Chinese Embassy after an Ottawa University student alleged he was repeatedly struck for taking pictures.

Leon Wang, a 25-year-old Chinese man in Canada to study business, said he was invited to the embassy on Dec. 28 to watch two movies.

Wang, a Falun Gong practitioner, said he was surprised to see a display of posters that depicted the persecution of Falun Gong.

When he tried to take photos, embassy staff, who recognized him, took him aside,

"They pulled me to the door and said that I had to hand my film to them," Wang said. "I refused. I said that it was my personal property."


An employee tried to pry the camera out of Wang's pocket by pulling at his arm but the student again refused.

"Three or four staff members shoved me down the stairs," he said.

They then took the frightened student to a closed room, where they continued to demand the film.

"This is Chinese territory," Wang said he was warned. "I said that they should not treat me like this.

"I was very, very afraid. I had heard of people who disappeared in similar circumstances (in China)."

Wang said he was left alone with a man who struck him with his hand and kicked at his legs repeatedly, but never in the same place. He was also struck violently on the head, he said.

Jack He, who was also at the event, said he had been told by at least two people that Wang had been detained and beaten.

Concerned, He went downstairs where he saw Wang in a room with one or two other people and two or three other people waiting outside the door.

"I didn't know if I should call police," said He, adding he did not see Wang assaulted. "I talked to the lady outside the door and I asked what was going on in there. I said that Wang was my friend and I wanted to talk to him."

Eventually, Wang was released and his camera never seized.

He showed no visible signs of the alleged beating yesterday other than a few marks on his hands. But Wang said he's been to the hospital since the alleged incident and continues to feel the effects of the blow to his head.

Wang said he is concerned speaking out could jeopardize his family in China but felt justice was necessary.


"If I do not stand up the whole society will have lost justice," he said yesterday.

Police are investigating the alleged incident and expect to relay the information to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the RCMP. Results are not expected for a few days.

"Currently, were are treating this as a criminal investigation in our jurisdiction," said Ottawa Police Sgt. Daniel Beauchamp.

No one was available to respond at the embassy but Ottawa police confirmed that a report was filed, detailing the alleged incident.