Former student leader on detention centre hunger strike in China

by IANS |

Zhejiang, July  (IANS) A former student leader of the 1989 protest movement at Hangzhou University in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang is being force-fed in detention after refusing food and drink, media reports said.

Xu Guang has been formally arrested on suspicion of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble", a charge frequently used to target peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), after he protested the confiscation of his mobile phone by the police, fellow rights activist Zou Wei said, RFA reported.

"Xu Guang is on hunger strike, and his family was a little concerned [about saying anything in public], because the state security police got in contact after my last interview," Zou said.

"I got a call from the state security police just 10 minutes after I gave that interview. They called me twice," he said.

The news emerged via a defence lawyer who was allowed to visit Xu in detention in mid-June, but who didn't dare to go public with the information for fear of reprisals from the authorities, Zou said, RFA reported.

"They met once, but the lawyer didn't dare to say anything, and I didn't say anything either, because the case is so [politically] sensitive."

"The relevant departments got to the lawyer and talked them out of [saying anything]," he said.

Xu, 54, was detained after he held up a placard outside Hangzhou's Yuquan police station demanding his phone back.

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