The Telegraph’s Tom Phillips reports the detention of two prominent activists in Hangzhou, the latest of several that have taken place ahead of next month’s 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.
Xu Guang, a 45-year-old pro-democracy activist, was arrested in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, last Friday on charges of “subversion”, said Chen Shuqing, a writer and activist who is his friend.
Mr Xu, a student leader during the 1989 protests who holds annual hunger strikes to commemorate the Tiananmen killings, recently used Weixin, a Chinese messaging service, to tell friends and fellow activists about plans for a similar protest this year.
[…] Meanwhile Lu Gengsong, an author and pro-democracy activist who recently published an online essay attacking Beijing’s pursuit of its opponents, was detained in the same city on Monday following a raid on his home, Wang Xue’e, his wife, said.
[…] Mr Lu, who is the author of a book called History of Corruption in the Communist Party of China, said he was released in the early hours of Tuesday morning after refusing to answer police questions. He was immediately placed under house arrest. [Source]
Xu would not be the first activist to find that the authorities had knowledge of his Weixin (WeChat) conversations. He may be the first of the anniversary detainees to be charged with subversion (or inciting subversion, according to RFA), however; most have been accused of causing disturbances, reflecting a shift from the use of state security to public security offenses in political cases. Journalist Gao Yu is another exception, facing charges of leaking state secrets.