China Detains Activists and Dissidents to Prevent Protests during G20 Summit

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Originally published by Latin American Herald Tribune on September 2, 2016

BEIJING – Authorities have arrested or forced activists, dissidents and other citizens to “travel” in several parts of China in a bid to prevent protests during the G20 summit this weekend in Hangzhou.

Police, following the usual procedures on such occasions, are trying to limit the movements of any citizen deemed liable to attempt to denounce human rights violations before foreign leaders, who have begun arriving in China for the summit.

Nearly 50 people have already been affected, activists said.

“(The government) wants the G20 to be a resounding success and will not allow for any mistake,” Hu Jia told EFE on Thursday, speaking from the southern city of Zhongshan, where he was forced to travel a few days ago.

Hu, regularly kept under house arrest in Beijing, claimed there were other activists in the same situation.

Frances Eve, a researcher with the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), told EFE the NGO had confirmed that at least six people had been arrested, forced to travel or were missing.

The actual number could be “much higher,” the human rights researcher said.

Police increase controls not just to prevent terrorist attacks but also to keep activists and dissidents from voicing their concerns over human rights violations to foreign media during the G20, Hu said.

In addition to Hangzhou, activists have been detained in neighboring Shanghai and even Beijing.

Chinese lawyer Teng Biao and other dissidents met with U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Tuesday in Washington to request that President Barack Obama discuss what they termed the worst human rights crisis in China since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in his meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Teng said he hoped Obama could meet with some political prisoners or detained activists in Hangzhou, adding that the U.S. leader should also urge China to release Nobel Peace laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo, who has been in jail since 2009.

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