10/13/2010, 00.00
CHINA
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After Nobel to Liu Xiaobo, repression of other dissidents

The government is concerned that, spurred on by the prestigious award, Chinese human rights activists will organize new protests or demonstrations. Police unleash a wave of arrests and round the clock surveillance on virtually every "sensitive" home. Meanwhile, Liu Xia, wife of the author of Charter '08, complains: "My house arrest is illegal."

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, a university professor and author of the democratic manifesto Charter 08, has unleashed a wave of repression against human rights activists in China. According to Chinese Human Rights Defender, police are currently holding at least a dozen people in detention or under house arrest: the government fears demonstrations in support of Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, currently illegally detained under house arrest.

The security officials are guarded the house of Liu in the last days, has increased considerably the number of policemen around the building. The police also follows the well-known constitutional expert Zhang Zuhua, who is accompanied in each shift. On 12 October, the activist in Beijing Fan Yafen was blocked by guards in the house: it had to give an interview. Currently, more than 20 agents are monitoring him.

On 11 October, even lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, who defends the human rights activists, was put under house arrest. Zhou Tuo, a Democrat, is one of the "four gentlemen of Tiananmen”; since October 9 he has been under house arrest and no contact has been made with him. But the repression has not remained confined to Beijing on 11 October in Deyang, Sichuan province, the activist Li Yu was detained and interrogated. Her crime is to have texted some friends to celebrate the new Nobel Laureate. The police ordered her “not to organize anything."

Also in Sichuan the police have the houses of Mu Jiayu and Li Guohong, in Chongqing, under surveillance since the announcement of the prize. On October 12, Chen Yunfei was brought home after he tried to reach other dissidents. Liao Shuangyuan and Wu Yuqin, members of the Forum for Human Rights in Guizhou, disappeared on 8 October, they were in Beijing to attend a dinner in honour of Liu Xiaobo, when they were stopped by police. Wang Sen, a democracy activist from Sichuan, is under house arrest.

Meanwhile, Liu Xia has protested against the "illegal arrest" that the Chinese authorities have imposed on her in a message posted on Twitter. "I protest strongly against the government which has actually put me under house arrest illegally." A few hours ago Xia Liu said, also on Twitter,  that Chinese authorities have stopped her meeting a Norwegian diplomatic delegation who came to check on her conditions of detention in her home in Beijing. The U.S. and European Union have called on Beijing to grant the woman freedom of movement.

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