torsdag 3. februar 2022

‘Nobody can say anything’: China cracks down on dissent ahead of Olympics

A chill is blowing through Chinese civil society as activists, journalists and academics report receiving police warnings and censorship of their social media platforms in recent weeks as Beijing prepares to host the Winter Olympics beginning on Friday. In mid-January, the Beijing-based human rights activist Hu Jia said in a tweet that China’s state security apparatus was summoning activists around the country to question them and warn them to stay silent.

The author Zhang Yihe and prominent journalist Gao Yu said they had lost some or all of their access to WeChat, China’s dominant social media platform. Academics including Guo Yuhua, the outspoken Tsinghua University sociologist, and He Weifang, the Peking University law professor, reported similar issues.

Ahead of the Games, authorities also detained two prominent human rights activists: the lawyer Xie Yang and writer Yang Maodong. They are held on suspicion of “inciting state subversion”. A third rights lawyer, Tang Jitian, went missing in December en route to an EU human rights day event in Beijing.