Zhu has been missing since 29 April after he was seized for “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble”. This is an excuse according to an activist friend. Zhu was not alone at the commemoration but he is the only one who was not released. In 2013, he challenged the "suicide" verdict of a Tianamen dissident.
Beijing (AsiaNews/RFA) – Zhu Chengzhi (pictured right), an activist who has not been heard of since April 29, is under "residential surveillance" in a secret place after he was charged with “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” for visiting the tomb of Lin Zhao, a dissident from the Mao Zedong era.
Zhu Chengzhi was seized on 29 April at the Lingyan Shan hillside cemetery on the outskirts of Suzhou, alongside fellow activists who had laid wreaths to mark the anniversary of Lin's execution for alleged counterrevolutionary crimes.
Lin is an important symbol for China’s pro-democracy movement. She criticised the supreme leader and was executed in 1968 at the age of 36 after refusing to plead guilty to charges.
Zhu’s daughter, who lives in Hangzhou, received notification from police on Monday that her father was under "residential surveillance", said Hunan rights activist Yi Zhengan.
"We don't know where he is being held under residential surveillance," Yi said. "We think it may be in Suzhou, but we can't be sure."
"Residential surveillance at a designated location" can be used for up to six months in cases the authorities say are linked to state security.
State security charges like subversion and "revealing state secrets," are increasingly used against critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party and are also used to justify denying access to a lawyer or family visits.
Rights groups say that detainees held in secret locations are at risk of torture and other forms of mistreatment.
For Hunan-based activist Chen Siming, the visit to Lin Zhao’s tomb is an excuse to silence Zhu. "Four people went to commemorate Lin Zhao on Apr. 29, and they released the other three on the same day," he said,
Zhu became one of China's most prominent rights activists after he spoke out in connection with the suspicious death in police custody of labour rights activist Li Wangyang (pictured left) in 2013.
On that occasion, he challenged the official verdict, according to which Li, disabled, hanged himself. This cost Zhu six months of residential surveillance on suspicion of "subversion".