Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned of a further string of detentions in Shanghai apparently related to participation in lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s hunger strike against official repression and violence.
Gao Zhisheng’s hunger strike, begun earlier this month, has apparently raised increasing alarm within the Chinese government as it has gained support across China. A number of well-known Beijing activists, including Hu Jia, Qi Zhiyong, Wen Haibo, Zhao Dagong, Ma Wendu and Ouyang Xiansheng, have been reported missing over the past few days.
Sources in China told HRIC that at least five long-term petitioners in Shanghai have also been detained or have gone missing since announcing their intention to participate in the hunger strike beginning on February 15:
A number of other petitioners have been placed under surveillance or virtual house arrest since beginning their hunger strike, including Tian Baocheng and Chen Enjuan. Other people who voiced their intention to participate in the hunger strike were reportedly detained temporarily and warned not to take part in this "political activity" or they would suffer the consequences.
HRIC protests the detention and harassment of these petitioners for nothing more than the peaceful expression of their views. The crackdown is especially reprehensible given that these activists were expressly protesting official repression and violence. HRIC calls for all detainees to be released immediately, and for the termination of surveillance and house arrest against other hunger strike participants and activists.