Chinese Cops Bust Poet Over Umbrella

Item confiscated from Wang Zang's home amid Hong Kong protests
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 7, 2014 6:42 AM CDT
This 2013 file photo shows another of poet Wang Zang's provocative photos. The words read, “Principal, get a room (with me). Leave the young students alone," in response to a recent spate of sex abuse...   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Wang Zang)
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(Newser) – A Chinese poet could reportedly face three years in prison, and it's all because of an umbrella. Wang Zang posted a picture of himself online holding an umbrella—and, it should be noted, sporting a one-fingered salute—after said rain shields, also used to block tear gas, became a symbol for Hong Kong protesters. Shortly afterward, the Beijing 29-year-old was taken into custody, his wife tells the Telegraph. Police say the arrest, following a poetry event, was because of the photo, activist organization PEN reports. Next, police came to Wang's home, "demanding to come in for a conversation," she says. "They showed me a blank search warrant and rummaged through everything, searching every corner of the house."

They took the umbrella, among other items—including a pair of glasses, for reasons that aren't clear, the Telegraph notes. The umbrella will likely be used as evidence against Wang, says a rights lawyer who is defending the poet. A conviction for "provoking troubles" could come with a three-year sentence, the lawyer says. Some 25 activists throughout China have been held by police amid the protests.

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