Mohamed Najah and Aimen Eljali
Tripoli, 2 September 2013:
The alleged imprisonment and death sentence on a Chinese-born hero of the Libyan revolution . . .[restrict]led to angry protests outside the Chinese embassy in Tripoli today.
The 50 or so demonstrators believed that Yousef Bo Wang, a convert to Islam, who during the Revolution played a distinguished role helping evacuate wounded fighters to Tunisia, was kidnapped in Turkey on his way to Beijing.
One of the demonstrators, Khalifa Al-Sharkasi, told the Libya Herald that he was a close friend of Yousef who had been studying Islamic Law at the Islamic Da’wa Society in Tripoli. Sharkasi said: “On 23 August, Yousef was returning to Beijing through Turkey, but was not seen in the passenger area. He was kidnapped from the airplane, he was kept in custody for a week in Turkey and then sent to China”.
What what was not clear was why Yousef would be seized and sent to China, when he was apparently already on his way there. Meanwhile the Chinese embassy in Libya has denied that they had any knowledge of a kidnapping. It also said that there was no record of Yousef arriving back in China.
Sharkasi married a Turkish fellow student a month before his disappearance. It is not known if she was on the flight with him. He had converted to Islam in Indonesia in 2009. At the outbreak of the Revolution, he was working for a Chinese firm in Libya. He ignored the order for China’s nationals to evacuate, and instead joined the uprising.
In a public speech in Tripoli on 18 March, he denounced Qaddafi’s attacks on Benghazi. Smuggled out of the capital to Zintan, Yousef reportedly used vehicles with Chinese language markings to ferry food and medicine to the fighters. He is also believed to have been involved in identifying strategic targets for NATO and helped fighters find an arms cache in a Chinese construction compound.
Today’s noisy three-hour demonstration passed off peacefully with the number of police and protestors about equally matched.
Chinese sources have suggested that Yousef may have gone from Turkey to Syria to join in the insurgency there in which, according to his friends, he had already played a role. [/restrict]