China harasses more than 250 people ahead of Nobel ceremony
Published 08/12/2010 | 15:23
More than 250 people have either been blocked from travelling, arrested, or put under house arrest by the Chinese government ahead Friday's Nobel Peace prize ceremony, according to Amnesty International.
The Chinese Communist Party continues to be furious at the award of this year's peace prize to Liu Xiaobo, a 54-year-old writer who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for inciting subversion. Mr Liu was the co-author of Charter 08, a petition for political reform in China.
Officials have begun a sweeping campaign to stop all mainland Chinese from either attending the ceremony in Oslo and from voicing any support for Mr Liu. A spokesman for Amnesty said they had 272 people locked up.
A list circulating in China provided a summary of the extent to which China has gone to quash any support for Mr Liu.
Compiled by Liu Shasha, a fellow activist who was brutally tortured in a Beijing detention centre last year, the list provides a near day-by-day account of abuses by Chinese officials.
For example, the list stated: "On October 28, Guo Xianliang was arrested for distributing leaflets about Liu Xiaobo in Guangzhou.
On October 30, Mo Jixu and Wen Kejian were detained in Hangzhou and Mo Jixu was escorted back to Sichuan. A woman named Huang Yaling laying flowers at the Norway Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo was questioned.
Chen Zhaohua was interrogated. A website called 1984BBS was ordered to close. The head of it, Zhang Jianmen was questioned and put under house arrest".
China has blocked several Chinese citizens, including Ai Weiwei, the artist whose work is currently on display at Tate Modern, from leaving the country, fearful that they would attend the Nobel ceremony.
However, it has also emerged that a naturalised Australian citizen, Zhang Heci, had been detained at Shanghai airport for 24 hours and then sent back to Australia after stopping in China on his way to Oslo.