DOZENS of Chinese intellectuals, dissidents, writers and human rights activists have been put under house arrest – and one admitted to hospital after a police attack.
This was ahead of the prize-giving ceremony for Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo.
Mr Liu’s attorney, Mo Shaoping, and fellow lawyer Shang Baojun were refused permission to leave the country for conferences, it emerged yesterday.
The crackdown came as leading environmentalist and author Dai Qing became the first person to publicly accept a request from Mr Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, also under house arrest, to attend the December 10 ceremony in Norway.
Ms Dai, a former journalist, issued a letter in which she said she would go to Oslo for the event if the Nobel laureate, who is serving the second year of an 11-year jail term for subversion, were not released and his friends were prevented from leaving for the ceremony next month.
Liu Suli, an intellectual and owner of the Allsages bookstore – a gathering place for dissidents in Beijing – had his back injured when police tried to stop him leaving his house last week. He has been in hospital since then.
Among those who faced house arrest are Zhang Zuhua, who co-drafted the pro-democracy Charter 2008 with Mr Liu, religious activist Fan Yafeng, writer Yu Jie and dissident Hu Shigen, who has been jailed for 16 years for attempting to organise an independent party.
“The authority is extremely anxious in the wake of workers strike in May, anti-Japanese demonstrations weeks ago, and the upcoming event of Nobel prize-issuing ceremony,” Mr Fan told The Australian.