Another activist detained, US group says

Prominent advocate of political reform held, latest in an apparent crackdown

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 August, 2013, 7:25pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 August, 2013, 4:13am


Police have detained a prominent human-rights activist, signalling the continuation of a recent crackdown on dissent, an advocacy group said.

Police in Guangzhou detained Yang Maodong, an advocate for legal reform, on a charge of "assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place", United States-based group Chinese Human Rights Defenders said on a blog.

The group posted a photograph of a notification document for Yang's arrest, apparently issued on August 8.

Yang, better known by the pen-name Guo Feixiong, has campaigned for freedom of speech and has aided villagers who had accused local officials of corruption.

Rights activist Wen Yunchao cited Yang's sister as saying she received the notification yesterday.

Yang's arrest comes less than a month after Beijing police detained human-rights lawyer Xu Zhiyong , who had publicly called for the release of other activists arrested for demanding that government officials disclose their assets.

Wen, commonly known as Bei Feng, said on Twitter that he believed the event could be linked to Yang's participation - he held up a banner - in a protest in support of staff of Southern Weekly, who opposed the provincial government's censorship efforts in January.

Yang's wife in the US had not been able to reach him for days earlier this month, Radio Free Asia reported.

The latest arrest signals "the continued repression of human-rights activists by Chinese authorities", Chinese Human Rights Defenders said.

Rights groups have reported a crackdown on political activists since President Xi Jinping was formally appointed in March.

At least 24 activists have been detained since late that month, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders group said in a statement in July.

Another Guangzhou-based activist, Sun Desheng, was taken away by police early last week.

Activists believe he was detained for calling for the release of Xu.

Police in the Tianhe district of Guangzhou, where Yang is said to have been detained, did not answer phone calls yesterday.

Yang was sentenced to five years in jail in 2007 and released in September 2011.

Yang provided legal advice to disgruntled villagers in Taishi, Guangdong, in a failed attempt to fire their village chief in 2005.

Additional reporting by Adrian Wan