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Dozens Put Under House Arrest as Chinese Authorities Intensify Crackdown Following Nobel Peace Prize Announcement

October 28, 2010

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned through communication with those affected and online sources that nearly forty individuals inside China have been put under house arrest in the weeks following the announcement of Liu Xiaobo’s (刘晓波) 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. One domestic rights activist pointed out that the intensity and scope of this crackdown exceed those of the crackdowns for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the signing of Charter 08, and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 2009. Other observers predict that the crackdown will continue and that more people will likely be placed under house arrest.

Zhang Hui (张辉), a legal scholar and rights activist, has compiled and released on Twitter a list of 39 people who have been subjected to varying degrees of house arrest in recent weeks, including legal scholars, dissidents, online activists, signers of Charter 08, house church organizers, film directors, retired government officials, and entrepreneurs. For Zhang Hui’s list of people under house arrest (Chinese only), see @zhanghui8964 (part 1, part 2, part 3).

Among those on Zhang’s list are writer Hu Shigen (胡石根); Liu Di (刘荻), an online dissident and signer of Charter 08; and writer Yu Jie (余杰). Hu said on October 27 that he has been under house arrest since October 8, and that every day, 24 policemen, security guards, and neighborhood committee members have been monitoring him round-the-clock in four shifts. Liu, who writes under the handle “Stainless Steel Rat” (不锈钢老鼠), says that there are three or four state security agents posted outside her door round-the-clock, and that she cannot leave her house except in the agents’ car. Yu Jie sent out an appeal on Twitter saying that he has been forbidden to leave his home for the past 11 days, and that his and his wife’s cell phones are blocked.

Perhaps the most high-profile person on Zhang’s list is Liu Xia (刘霞), wife of the Nobel laureate, whose house arrest since October 10 has been widely publicized. Close associates of Liu Xia have informed HRIC that they have not been able to reach her and have not received any emails from her. Similarly, associates of Ding Zilin (丁子霖), spokesperson of the Tiananmen Mothers and a supporter of Liu, say that they have not been able to reach Ding or her husband Jiang Peikun (蒋培坤) via phone or email since October 8. Legal scholar Teng Biao (滕彪) said that his movement is not restricted but that he has been warned by state security police that he should not accept any media interviews or discuss Liu’s Nobel Prize or Liu Xia’s house arrest.

Also, in recent weeks, a number of Chinese-language websites based outside of China and associated with rights advocacy and independent news reporting have become inaccessible. It is not clear, however, whether the shutdown is linked to actions by the Chinese authorities.

On October 27, Cai Chu (蔡楚), editor-in-chief of the human rights website Canyu, said that the website has been down since October 10 due to what technicians described as a large-scale attack. Liu Feiyue (刘飞跃), head of Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch (民生观察), said that their website has been down since October 26 after what he believes to be an attack by hackers. Other affected websites include:

“The continuing crackdown confirms the seriousness of human rights abuses in China and the need to speak out against these abuses,” said Sharon Hom, HRIC Executive Director. “If the Chinese authorities persist in their actions, they will only further display their lack of confidence and undermine their assertions of progress.”

For more information on the restrictions placed on Chinese people after the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, see:

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