Chinese Police Detain Another Dissident Over Seashore Memorial For Liu Xiaobo

zhou-arrest-09062017.jpg Undated photo of Zhou Yuzhen, who has been in police custody since a July 19 seaside memorial for late political prisoner Liu Xiaobo.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have been holding an activist for more than a month since he took part in a seashore memorial for late Nobel peace laureate and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo, his wife told RFA.

Zhuo Yuzhen, who hails from the southeastern province of Fujian, was formally arrested by police from his hometown and has been sent back to Guangdong to face investigation and prosecution.

His wife, who declined to give her name, said he was detained at the railway station in his hometown of Putian city.

Now, his case is being handed over to police in the Guangdong city of Jiangmen, who have also detained a number of other activists including Qin Mingxin.

"The railway police got in touch with the Putian police, who in turn got in contact with the Jiangmen police, and they decided to keep him in the detention center until officers from Jiangmen could travel there to size up the situation," Zhuo's wife said.

"He was still free to contact people at the time of his detention, and he called me himself to tell me about it," she said.

Both men took part in an online memorial campaign that involved taking photographs on the seashore in memory of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who died in custody of liver cancer on July 13, and whose ashes were buried at sea.

Zhuo is the latest in a string of "like-minded people" in Guangdong province to be detained in connection with the memorial.

The activists were detained at the beach in Xinhui, near Guangdong's Jiangmen city, as they marked a full seven days since Liu's death on July 19.

Hong Kong media have named another detainee as Li Zhaoqiang.

'String of arrests' creates fear

Guangdong-based rights activist Wang Aizhong said Zhuo was initially held in the Putian No. 2 Detention Center, but that staff there didn't know where he had been taken after that.

"Quite a lot of people took part in this event, and the authorities are hoping to create fear among social activists with this string of arrests," Wang said.

A Putian resident surnamed Zhou said Zhuo had likely been caught by additionally tight security in Fujian during the BRICS summit that ended in its port city of Xiamen on Tuesday.

"Usually these outlying places are pretty lax, but they had tightened up a lot lately because of the BRICS summit," Zhou said.

Calls to the Putian city police department rang unanswered during office hours on Tuesday.

At the time of his death at the age of 61, Liu had been serving an 11-year jail term for "incitement to subvert state power," linked to his online writings promoting democracy and constitutional government. They included Charter 08, a document that was signed by more than 300 prominent scholars, writers, and rights activists around the country.

In the document, the former literature professor called for concerned Chinese citizens to rally to bring about change, citing an increasing loss of control by the Communist Party and heightened hostility between the authorities and ordinary people.

Liu's late diagnosis, and the refusal of the ruling Chinese Communist Party to allow him to go overseas on medical parole, had sparked widespread public anger, with the governments of Germany and the U.S. offering him the best possible treatment.

Now, concerns are growing over the mental and physical health of Liu Xia, who has reportedly asked to be allowed to go overseas to seek treatment herself, but who remains under close surveillance by state security police.

Reported by Hai Nan for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by Xin Lin for the Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.


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