03/07/2013, 00.00
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Arrests and beatings, the "dark side" of the National Assembly

Just like every year around sensitive political gatherings, police and the authorities clamp down with raids and interrogations to prevent high profile dissidents and democratic activists from disrupting the Party sessions.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - As every year, on the occasion of sensitive political events, the Chinese government silence or deport dissidents, activists and icons of resistance against the Party. As "two gatherings" - the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Consultative Conference got underway in the capital this week - police went to "visit" the artist Ai Weiwei, the dissidents Hu Jia, He Depu and Xu Zhiyong as well as lawyer Jiang Tianyong. In addition, the authorities have sent dissidents Gao Hongming and Zha Jianguo on an "all expenses paid vacation", forcing them to leave the capital.

The two legislative sessions are held once a year and, although they do not exercise direct democracy, are closely monitored by the international press and the diplomatic community in China. This year these summits are particularly important, since the 3 thousand deputies assembled in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing must confirm the election to the leadership of the country and the Party of Xi Jinping, as head of the "fifth generation" of Chinese leaders.

But the repression goes beyond Beijing city limits. In Shanghai, the authorities have "summoned" local Democratic leaders and forced them under house arrest. The group includes Feng Zhenghu - who has already served a year in prison - and Yang Qinheng, who was beaten during interrogation. In Hangzhou writers Lu Gengsong and Chen Shuqing are being monitored, as well as the environmental activist Tan Kai. In the province of Hubei surveillance was reinforced on activists Yao Lifa and Liu Feiyue, founder of the Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch organization.

Chinese Human Rights Defender, which released the list of the first arrests reports its impossible to keep track of how many were arrested or beaten while bringing a petition to Beijing from the distant provinces". The petitions, guaranteed by the Constitution, allows individuals to submit complaints directly to the central government in recent years, however, has increased dramatically the number of those arrested in an arbitrary manner while demanding justice.


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