Chinese Authorities Detain Activists for Posting Pro-Democracy Content Online

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On May 27, 2016, Chinese authorities detained seven activists in Beijing, and the Sichuan Province, after a photograph was posted online showing six of them calling for the commemoration of Tiananmen Massacre, as well as the release of political prisoners Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), and the detained Yu Shiwen (于世文). Three other activists were detained in Sichuan and Chengdu for producing a wine label with the phrase: “Remember June 4th, 1989” and sharing an image of it online. Nine of the ten activists are being held on charges for “suspicion of picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” and one of the activists is facing the charge of “inciting subversion of state power.”

Xi Jinping’s crackdown on civil society has made it dangerous for Chinese activists to stage public demonstrations or protest online. A common tactic has been to use the 2013 Chinese interpretation of law (the English translation is available online) to arrest activists for posting pro-democracy content online.

The #Set Them Free Campaign is dedicated to promoting awareness about individuals unjustly imprisoned, but China’s roster of political prisoners continues to grow. Lu Xiaobo, a renowned Chinese literary writer and political activist, has been in prison since 2009 for allegedly “spreading a message to subvert the country and authority.” The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient has been sentenced to 11 years in prison in China. The World Movement for Democracy condemns China’s detainment of activists and urges the Chinese government to #SetThemFree.