Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have ordered a prominent dissident couple to leave the regional capital Guangzhou, amid an ever-widening "stability maintenance" operation, they told RFA.
Rights lawyer Huang Simin and her husband, the dissident writer Li Xuewen, were ordered by state security police in Foshan, a suburb of Guangzhou, to leave the city immediately and return to their home province of Hubei in central China, their friends said, posting photos of train tickets bought for them by police.
In a brief exchange on Friday, Huang declined to comment, however.
"It's not a good time for me to give interviews, because I have my license review coming up, and it's quite a crucial time," she said, referring to an annual review of her lawyer's business license that can be withheld from any lawyer who criticizes the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
"I haven't been going head-to-head with [the authorities] over this for that reason," she said.
Last year, Li was among dozens of activists detained or otherwise sanctioned for taking part in seashore memorials to mark the death of
political prisoner and Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo from late-stage liver cancer in July 2017.
Calls to the Huangzhizhen police station in Foshan rang unanswered during office hours on Friday.
Fellow rights activist Huang Yongxiang said the authorities had also intimidated the couple's landlord, forcing them to terminate the rental agreement on their Guangzhou apartment.
"They took the landlord down to the police station for questioning, and they are constantly harassing them, which terrified the landlord, who had no choice but to terminate the lease," Huang Yongxiang said.
"I have no idea whether the Guangzhou police department was acting on orders from higher up, but they suddenly used very forceful tactics to for [Huang and Li] to leave Guangdong," he said. "We don't yet know the reason for that."
Meanwhile, Guangdong-based commentator Jia Pin said he had been subjected to a raid by police on Wednesday, then forced to leave the province on Thursday.
"They just came and forced my door open, just like that," Jia said. "Seven or eight of them came in and pinned me to the ground, then they took me down to the police station."
"They kept on asking me whether I had posted anything to Twitter lately about government policies or leaders," he said. "They told me I wasn't welcome in Guangdong, although they didn't say I could never come back."
"They told me that I would be a stability maintenance target for as long as I was in Guangdong," Jia said. "They told me I am persona non grata in Guangdong, and they would escort me out of the province for sure, if ever I went back there."
Repeated calls to the the Guangdong provincial police department rang unanswered during office hours on Friday.
Reported by Wong Lok-to for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by Gao Feng for the Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.