- NET Web Desk
In another case of repression of freedom of expression in China a journalist and an activist have gone missing for two days from the southern provincial capital of Guangzhou. Their colleagues and friends are apprehensive that they have been detained by the local police.
According to Chinese Human Rights Defenders report Huang Xueqin—an independent journalist and prominent #MeToo activist—and Wang Jianbing—a longtime civil society figure supporting marginalized groups—went missing on September 19.
Huang Xueqin was planning to travel to the UK via Hong Kong the next day to begin her master’s program at the University of Sussex. According to NGOCN, friends reported losing touch with both the day before Huang’s planned departure, with one source saying that the following day their personal property was searched and confiscated.
One of their mutual friends was reportedly questioned by authorities about peaceful, private gatherings with friends at Wang Jianbing’s residence.
It is feared that law enforcement agencies of Zhuhai District in Guangzhou have detained Mr. Wang and he might face a charge of “inciting subversion of state authority” for hosting gatherings at his home. CHRD reports that the Chinese authorities have frequently used this state security crime against members of civil society to suppress them.
“Chinese officials are likely launching another round of crackdowns on civil society ahead of next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics. Authorities have been going after any attempt to form associations, assemble peacefully, or to build communities of mutual support, apparently seeing them as ‘threats’ to national security,” said CHRD senior researcher Ramona Li.
“The government fears its citizens peacefully exercising freedom of assembly and association, which nurture the relationships powering the work of civil society that have done so much social good for marginalized groups in China. The Chinese government should see these vital members of civil society as allies rather than adversaries in holding together a social safety net that is severely frayed,” said Ramona Li.