Silencing the critics – Kate Krauss
From the International Herald Tribune (link):
Over the past two years, China has escalated beatings, imprisonment and harassment of dissenters: intellectuals, social and economic justice activists, journalists and even farmers who attempt to present their grievances to authorities.
Many Westerners might never have heard about the recent attacks if not for the response of a diverse group of Beijing activists. Gao Zhisheng, a prominent defense attorney, organized a symbolic 48-hour hunger strike to protest the attacks; soon he was under house arrest with as many as 100 policemen surrounding his home.
Other prominent activists, including Hu Jia, a young AIDS advocate and former television editor, quickly joined him in solidarity. The idea spread, with activists from more than 20 provinces reportedly volunteering to fast for 24-48 hours each.