Would-Be Protesters Detained in China

Andrew Jacobs reports in the New York Times:

When Gao Chuancai slipped into the capital last week hoping to stage a one-man rally against corruption in his village in northeast China, he knew his chances of success were slim.

During his decade-long crusade, Mr. Gao, a 45-year-old farmer from Heilongjiang Province, had been jailed a dozen times. Two beatings by the police left him with broken bones and shattered his teeth, he said, but did little to temper his drive for justice.

The government’s recent announcement that preapproved protests would be allowed at three sites during the Olympic Games gave him a wisp of hope. Two weeks ago he mailed in his application, and last week he came to Beijing to follow up. During a visit to the Public Security Bureau on Wednesday, the police interviewed him for an hour and then told him to return in five days for his answer. “They’ll probably arrest me when I go back,” he said afterward.

See also a Xinhua report announcing that 77 applications for permits to protest during the Olympics had been accepted:

Seventy-four applications have been withdrawn so far, because the problems those applicants contended for were properly addressed by relevant authorities or departments through consultations, added the spokesperson.

Two other applications have been suspended because their procedures were incomplete, the spokesperson said. In one of such cases, for example, the applicant applied to take children to the demonstration, which is against China’s law.


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