He was released after an 8-hour interrogation and forced to sign a statement promising he would not participate in illegal gatherings

"There are no rioters, only tyranny", banner, Sanmu Chan, 2019. Source: ArtAsiaPacific/Sanmu Chan

Artist and curator Sanmu Chan, who openly supported protesters in Hong Kong, was arrested in China. He was detained as he was going through migration control at Lo Wu railway station in Shenzhen on his way from Hong Kong, Artforum learnt from ArtAsiaPacific.

Chan spent eight hours at a police station in Shenzhen. He was questioned in connection with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Police officers asked him about the banner he created, meetings with friends, including locations, times and names. Police usually arrest activists under suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, a crime that carries a maximum five-year prison term. The artist was released after the questioning and sent back to Hong Kong.

Wooden sculptures, Sanmu Chan, 2019. Source: ArtAsiaPacific/Sanmu Chan

In early July, Chan created a protest banner “There are no rioters, only tyranny” as a response to the authorities who called protesters rioters. On July 27, the artist installed black wooden sculptures, condemning the police who did not interfere during attacks on protesters and passersby.

Chan openly supports pro-democracy protests that began in Hong Kong in June against the extradition draft law that allows sending suspects to mainland China. Thousands of protesters have taken to streets regularly since then. The protests were peaceful on both sides, but police and people in white shirts began to use batons, rubber bullets, stun grenades. Protesters’ demands have grown – they now want the resignation Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam, pro-independence legislation and an end to police brutality.

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