International

China detains over a dozen activists in year-end crackdown

People were ‘peacefully discussing politics in a private space’

Over a dozen Chinese lawyers and activists were detained or went missing in the final days of 2019 in a crackdown on participants of a private democracy gathering, rights groups said on Thursday.

The Chinese government has severely reduced the space for civil liberties since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, rounding up rights lawyers, labour activists and even Marxists students in various sweeps.

The latest crackdown was linked to a December gathering in the east coast city of Xiamen in Fujian province, where participants discussed “democratic transition in China,” said Human Rights Watch researcher Wang Yaqiu.

The period around Christmas and New Year is traditionally when China chooses to sentence prominent dissidents in an effort to minimise international media attention, “so it is not a surprise that they chose this particular time to launch a manhunt of activists,” Ms. Wang said. The meeting involved a small group of people “peacefully discussing politics in a private space,” she added.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 3:22:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-detains-over-a-dozen-activists-in-year-end-crackdown/article30463248.ece

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