Many raise concern over detained Chinese rights activists’ safety


For showing support for the pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, two activists have been detained by authorities in the Chinese provinces of Liaoning and Hunan, RFA has learned.

Ethnic Mongolian activist Liu Hongzhi was detained last month in the southwestern province of Yunnan by police from his hometown in the northeastern province of Liaoning on suspicion of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” in connection with social media posts he made recently.

Liu, who travelled to Hong Kong to offer his support to the protest movement in October, has been incommunicado since his detention.

“He arrived in Hong Kong on October 01 and left on October 08,” fellow rights activist Ou Biaofeng said. “He took part in an anti-extradition protest and also shot photos and video, taking pictures of himself at the scene.”

“People noticed at the beginning of this month that Liu hadn’t posted anything online for a few days,” he said.

Sources said Liu is under investigation, possibly under criminal detention, as the authorities are look at any organizational support he has received for his activism.

In the central Chinese province of Hunan, activist Zhou Zaiqiang has also been in criminal detention for more than three months after being detained by police in the provincial capital Changsha.

Zhou is currently behind bars at the No. 1 Detention Center in Changsha, and his case is believed to be moving to trial.

“He didn’t make that many original tweets,” Ou said. “Most of his posts were retweets, likes or short comments, all of them with an anti-extradition or a political theme.”

Meanwhile, the Made In China labour journal published a list of labour activists who remain “disappeared” or incommunicado this Christmas, after speaking out against sexual harassment or campaigning for labour rights for migrant workers.

“These are just some of the many individuals that the Chinese authorities consider to be so dangerous that they have arbitrarily locked them up, cut them off from their relatives and family, and in some cases subjected them to public smearing and forced confessions,” the journal’s editors said in the article.

“Their paths all led them to a commitment to protecting people’s rights and dignity,” it said, adding that the activists had campaigned on behalf of sanitation workers, workers affected by black lung disease, the right to set up independent labour unions and protection from sexual harassment.

“Theirs are simple demands for social justice that should find space anywhere, especially in a country with global aspirations such as China,” citing Peking University graduate and MeToo campaigner YueXin, Jasic Workers Support Group campaigner ShenMengyu and labour rights advocates Zhang Zhiru and Wu Guijun.

Wei Zhili, an advocate for the rights of workers suffering from pneumoconiosis, has been under ‘residential surveillance at a designated location’ since April, as have his fellow I-Labor magazine editors KeChengbing and Yang Zhengjun.

Feminist and independent journalist Sophia Huang was also listed as one of the disappeared activists, after she was detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” in October, it said. (Source: RFA)