Saturday 21 October 2017

Dissident crackdown in China ahead of party forum

Tom Phillips Shanghai

Chinese security officials have launched a crackdown on campaigners, democracy activists and lawyers in an attempt to silence dissent ahead of next month's once-in-a-decade leadership transition, activists say.

With weeks to go until China's 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, a number of outspoken critics have been locked up or put under house arrest.

Those affected range from well-known human rights campaigners and lawyers to anonymous petitioners who claim they have been imprisoned to stop them travelling to protest in Beijing during the Congress, which begins on November 8.

Activists say the aim of the crackdown is to ensure that while there will be no shortage of lengthy speeches in the Great Hall of the People, outside very little will be said at all.

"The basic idea is that anybody who could cause trouble has to be kept under control," said Eva Pils, an associate professor and director of the Centre for Rights and Justice at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

In Shanghai, activists said at least 10 petitioners had been locked up since the end of last month, among them Wang Kouma, an anti-corruption campaigner, and Tong Guojing, a housing petitioner. Both were taken into custody on September 25. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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