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China detains activists over criticism of the ruling Communist Party

President of China Xi Jinping. (Kremlin/Released)
October 04, 2019

This article was originally published by Radio Free Asia and is reprinted with permission.

Authorities in China have detained more than 10 people who criticized the ruling Chinese Communist Party around its 70th anniversary and National Day celebrations on Oct. 1.

Police in the central province of Hunan detained a group of activists ahead of the National Day holiday after they gathered for a meal and displayed signs protesting the use of taxpayers’ money to stage the lavish parade on Tiananmen Square in front of President Xi Jinping and other dignitaries.

Organizer Fan Junyi was detained alongside fellow activists on Sept. 28 and jailed for 15 days’ administrative detention, a type of punishment that is handed down by a police-run committee without a trial, local sources said.

Several other participants were held in administrative detention for terms of 5-15 days, the rights website Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch reported.

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“This was on Saturday, in Changsha,” a source who declined to be named told RFA. “About 12 or 13 people got together for a meal.”

“When they had finished eating, they put up placards, then they got into trouble the following day,” he said. “Fan Junyi was detained for 15 days over the placards.”

According to Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, this was the second time Fan was detained in two months over the placards, one of which read “We resolutely oppose the waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned cash on the military parade.”

Social media rant

Meanwhile, police in the southwestern province of Sichuan jailed 1989 pro-democracy activist Hou Duoshu after he made a critical social media post.

Dazhou activist Hou, 55, had posted to his friends circle on the popular WeChat platform, calling Shen Jilan, a delegate to China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), a “voting machine.”

“He was placed under administrative detention yesterday evening,” fellow Dazhou activist Yang Bo told RFA on Thursday. “He was ranting on WeChat about these people getting [National Day] honors, Shen Jilan in particular.”

Hou, a veteran of the 1989 pro-democracy movement in China, had continued to protest and organize in the wake of the Tiananmen massacre that ended the movement, speaking out against the PLA’s use of tanks and machine guns to suppress the democracy protests.

Hou served an eight-year jail term handed down by the Dazhou Intermediate People’s Court, which found him guilty of “incitement to counterrevolution” in November 1989. He was released from that jail term in November 1997.

Hou’s wife Zhao Yongmei said the police were still at her home.

“He was taken away yesterday at about 1:00 p.m., and the police station informed me, so I went over there,” Zhao said. “It seems that he posted something to WeChat that they said was anti-party.”

“I can’t really talk right now, because they’re right outside my door, three or four of them,” she said.