Guo Quan, who started the China New Democracy Party last year, was arrested in the city of Nanjing after he sent his son to school, his wife Li Jing said by phone.
China has been governed by authoritarian one-party Communist rule since 1949. While other political parties exist, they are not allowed to wield any power.
Guo has been detained several times — but only for several days at a time — since founding the party. But this time he could be held much longer, Li said.
“I was told it was quite different this time. The police told me to prepare myself psychologically,” she said.
Guo was also arrested in May for his critcism of the government’s handling of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.