“I had to choose between my husband and my children”: the woman who was forced to flee China due to political persecution

  • michael bristow
  • BBC World Service

Gang He during protests against the Chinese government in 2012.

image source, Getty Images

Caption,

Geng He has been running campaigns to raise awareness about her husband’s situation for years.

Geng He has suffered persecution, surveillance, and the breakup of his family, all simply because of the man he married. Her story reveals the dark side of the China of Xi Jinping, who has just secured a third term in office.

Geng He remembers exactly where he was when he realized how truly overwhelming the power of the Chinese state is: he had taken his daughter Grace to a beauty salon in Beijing for a haircut.

Suddenly, a group of people burst in and asked them to leave with them. It was the secret police.

At first, Geng He did not understand what was happening or who were the people who were taking her and her daughter away. She asked if they could finish the cut first. The answer was a “no”. There were more officers on the street outside; others were waiting for them in her apartment block.

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