6 arrested, 2 missing in China over Liu Xiaobo tribute

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Beijing, July 25 (IANS) Six people have been detained and two are missing allegedly after paying tribute to late Nobel Peace Prize laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo, a group of activists said.

Writer Ye Du (pseudonym), whom the police had stopped from attending a memorial service for Liu, told Efe news on Tuesday that the government was trying to suppress acts of commemoration in the fear they might turn into demands for freedom or protests against the one-party dictatorship.

Human rights lawyers, including Wei Xiaobing, He Lin, Liu Guangxiao, Wang Meiju and Li Shujia were among those who were arrested after they attended a memorial service in Canton.

Another activist Jiang Jianjun was detained in Dalian, a town in the northeast of the country, where the family of Liu — who died from terminal liver cancer on July 13 — had scattered the dissident’s remains in the sea.

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Besides them, Dong Wenzheng and another unidentified person in Shanghai, disappeared. Lawyer Mo Shaoping and dissident Jiang Qisheng, who participated in a tribute ceremony in Beijing, were questioned by the police.

All these people had participated in some kind of commemoration event — from an offering near the sea to posting photographs on the social media – for Liu, who had been sentenced to 11 years in prison on subversion charges in 2009.

His wife, poetess Liu Xia, was subjected to house arrest shortly after her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, although she has not been formally charged with any crime. Her whereabouts remain unknown.

She was last seen at Liu’s funeral. “No one knows where she has been since that day, nor can we contact Liu Hui (her brother),” renowned activist Hu Jia said.

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