6月27日， 我和妻子唯色坐火车从北京到拉萨。我的岳母住在拉萨。火车进站时，西藏国保已等在站台，先把我们带到车站派出所进行了一小时的搜查。我背包中的一个电子 “探测狗”被他们当做重要发现。那是一种用于探测无线窃听器或无线针孔摄像机的电子设备，警察问我为什么要带它。我说为了检查我在拉萨的家是否被暗中监 控。警察扣押了“探测狗”。
去年唯色在拉萨期间，用她父亲的老相机，按照她去世父亲上世纪六十年代拍摄的拉萨老照片，在相同角度拍摄下当今的拉萨。那是一个艺术行为。她多日奔走于拉萨的大街小巷，拍了19个 胶卷。当一个来拉萨玩的内地女孩走前和唯色告别时，她托女孩把胶卷带到中国内地冲洗。第二天女孩上飞机前，却在过安检时被“发现”装胶卷的包里有一把她从 未见过的刀。于是包被警察拿去做“仔细检查”，直到飞机就要起飞才还给女孩。匆匆登机的女孩发现，虽然装胶卷的盒子是原来的，可是里面的胶卷已经从唯色交 给她的19个富士120正片，被调换成了15个空白的柯达135负片。是谁做的？可想而知。
唯 色由此认为我们拉萨的家被安装了窃听器，因为托女孩带胶卷的事没有在电话里说，也没有通过网络，只是在家里当面交给了女孩，在场的只有她二人。我这次带着 电子“探测狗”来拉萨，就是想查看一下家里是否被安装了窃听器。我要求国保把“探测狗”还给我，他们的回答是那属于“反间谍设备”，我无权拥有。
此 刻正是斯诺登案被全球关注之时，中国政府对此幸灾乐祸，似乎证明了美国也不比中国好，谁也别说谁。但是美国政府至少不会禁止公民使用“探测狗”，也没那个 权力。而在中国，政府可以任意侵入公民的任何空间，公民的“反间谍”却不被允许。即使只有这一点差别，也足以让人看到两个国家的本质不同。
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When it comes to domestic spying, the U.S. is no China
By Wang Lixiong
Wang Lixiong is an author and political commentator. His novels include “Yellow Peril.” This op-ed was translated from Chinese by Perry Link, who teaches Chinese literature at the University of California at Riverside.
Last month I boarded a train with my wife, Tsering Woeser, a Tibetan poet and activist, to travel from Beijing to Lhasa, Tibet, where her mother lives. Plainclothes police were waiting for us at the platform in Lhasa. They ushered us to a nearby police station, where they spent an hour going through our belongings. They were thrilled to find in my backpack a “probe hound,” as we call it in Chinese — a little electronic device that can detect wireless eavesdropping. They asked me why I, a writer, was carrying it. I told them I needed to know whether my home in Lhasa was being monitored.
They confiscated the device.
At the time, U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke was visiting Lhasa. My wife and I had not planned our trip to coincide with Locke’s, but domestic security officials, taking no chances, held us under house arrest. Woeser is a soft-spoken person with a gentle nature, but she does have a record of speaking truth to power on the topic of Tibet. In March, she was honored with the U.S. secretary of state’s International Women of Courage Award. Chinese authorities, it seemed, wanted to ensure that Locke heard no voice that might spoil the perfect image of Tibet they had arranged for his controlled itinerary. And that meant they needed to keep Woeser at a distance.
We were released after Locke departed, but plainclothes police followed us. One of our friends, noticing them, tried to take a photo, and they, noticing him, smashed his camera. Anyone who dared to speak with us got a threatening “visit” from domestic security. And I was “invited” to the police station for more interrogation about that probe hound.
So I told them the full story. In the 1960s, Woeser’s father, now deceased, had taken a large number of photos in Lhasa. Woeser thought it would be an interesting project — artistically, if nothing else — to revisit the same spots and take photos, half a century later, from the same angles. To make the project as nearly perfect as possible, she found her father’s camera and bought film for it. Within a few days, she had taken 19 rolls of photos.
When a young friend who was headed back to coastal China came to say goodbye, Woeser asked her to carry the film and get it developed. The friend agreed. The next day at airport security, agents “discovered” in her luggage a knife she had never seen before. The “discovery” triggered an “enhanced examination” of her belongings, which the police took away and then returned to her just as she was boarding the plane.
She checked on the film. The boxes were the same but not the contents. Woeser had given her 19 rolls of exposed Fuji 120 film; the boxes now contained 15 rolls of unexposed Kodak 135 film.
That led Woeser to suspect that listening devices had been planted in our home. Her request to her friend had been made orally and to her alone. No one else had been involved; no telephone or Internet communications were used. That was why I was carrying the probe hound. We wanted to know whether our home was bugged.
I told all this to the police and then asked them to return the probe hound. They refused. It was “counterespionage equipment,” I was told. Citizens have no right to own such a device.
These things happened as the Edward Snowden revelations were attracting the world’s attention. The Chinese government seemed gratified, even pleased. Look! The United States is no better than China, so let’s all just stop the mutual carping.
But let’s not jump to conclusions. How comparable are the cases? Is it conceivable that the United States would tell a citizen that he has no right to a probe hound? In China, the government can enter any space of any citizen anytime it wants. It is the “counterespionage” of citizens that is prohibited.