Nervous China Puts Security Apparatus Into Overdrive

Sitting last week in his cramped Beijing flat just beyond the city’s fifth ring road, Teng Biao talked about a joke he used to share with Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned activist who won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Mr Liu would tease him about his ability to continue working as a human rights lawyer without being sent to jail.  Please read the article in Financial Times here:

“Doing this type of work, we can never be afraid of being jailed,” said Mr Teng. “But if you are in prison, you cannot do things.”

The joke is not looking so funny now. On Saturday, Mr Teng was called in to talk to the local police and as of Wednesday evening, he had still not reappeared, swallowed up somewhere in the city’s labyrinthine security bureaucracy. The police came later to his flat and took the two laptops that he spent his days crouched in front of.

“Why don’t you come in for a cup of tea?” is the euphemism that often accompanies such a police summons. Some young wits have even invented a new character that combines the symbol for tea with the similar character for interrogation. The normal routine is a few hours of questioning over, yes, some tea, followed by a rap on the knuckles.

February 25, 2011 12:13 PM
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Categories: Human Rights, Society