“I’m sorry, I cannot be interviewed,” said Ding Zilin, a founder of Tiananmen Mothers, a group of families of democracy protesters killed by the Chinese military in 1989. She spoke on Wednesday, three days before the anniversary of her son’s death. Sounding frail, Ms. Ding, a 79-year-old former philosophy professor, did not detail why she could not be interviewed. But before hanging up she added, “There are people watching and checking at my door.” Each year, the authorities guard Ms. Ding’s home in Beijing’s university district, turning away journalists and other visitors.
Reports circulating in Chinese and English on social media said that her telephone line had been cut and that the Public Security Bureau had issued her a special mobile phone with only three contact numbers, including China’s emergency medical care number, 120. Ms. Ding picked up her home landline Wednesday morning, although she hung up before she could be asked about a special phone or other details. She was also receiving text messages on her mobile, said You Weijie, a fellow member of the Tiananmen Mothers. Read more