The protester who splashed ink on a poster of Chinese President Xi Jinping has been sent to a psychiatric hospital by authorities, according to US-backed news outlet Voice of America.

VoA cited several local activists as saying that the protester – who Twitter activists identified as Dong Yaoqiong – was sent to the Third Hospital of Zhuzhou in Hunan province.

The Hunan-based activists said Dong was sent by Shanghai police back to her hometown in Zhuzhou last Monday and she was admitted to the hospital on the same day.

Photo: Screenshot.

On July 4, Dong live-streamed a video of herself throwing ink on a billboard ad featuring Xi Jinping while accusing the authorities of “brain-control.” She was feared detained after she said there were men in uniforms outside her door. Her Twitter account disappeared but has since been reactivated without any sign of the video or subsequent tweets.

Days later, Dong’s father appeared in YouTube live streams broadcast by artist Hua Yong. Both men also disappeared from social media after they were interrupted by police at Hua’s residence during a July 13 live broadcast.

One of the Hunan activists told VoA that he tracked down Dong’s mother, who was named by the news outlet as Zhou Lianjiao, on Sunday. Zhou said an expert arranged by Shanghai authorities determined that Dong had a mental illness, with the Zhuzhou hospital giving a concurrent diagnosis. It is unclear what illness she was diagnosed with.

Zhou reportedly said that she hoped her daughter could be appraised by an independent expert, adding that she would not speak to the media.

VoA’s source also reportedly visited Dong’s ex-husband, who said he told police that he did not observe any signs of mental illness while he was living with Dong.

House arrest

According to US-backed Radio Free Asia, Hua – the artist helping Dong’s father – is now under house arrest at an undisclosed location. He has only been able to contact his mother and did not respond to several requests for comment sent through Twitter by HKFP.

Dong Jianbiao said in a video posted by RFA that he was detained along with Hua for a day in Shangri-La, Yunnan, after they made the videos. He was then brought back to his brother’s home in Hunan by Zhuzhou police, and told that he must stay there for a month. He also said Shanghai police took his ID documents and his phone. It is unclear how the video was acquired by RFA. 

He previously said in a live stream that the family had no history of mental illness.

Following the incident, other Chinese activists have defaced images of Xi Jinping with some calling upon people to hold copycat protests to support her.

HKFP has contacted the hospital for comment.

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.