Police in China’s Guangdong Shut Down Factory of Liu Xiaobo Supporter

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have shut down a factory after its owner joined in memorial events for late Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died while serving a jail term for subversion in 2017.

Wei Xiaobing of Guangdong’s Huizhou city received a visit from local police officers on Thursday at his 200-square-meter garments factory in Yuanzhou township.

The factory, which employed around 10 people, and was Wei’s main source of income, was forced to halt production on the grounds of fire safety, Wei told RFA.

“The workers at the factory called to say that a bunch of police officers, including armed police from the fire department, had cut off the phone lines and told us to move out within a certain period,” he said.

“They then took me down to the police station, where they issued a notification of rectification,” he said. “Today, they ordered us to relocate, for fire safety reasons.”

“We have now demolished the dormitory building, and the workers have all left,” he said.

Wei said he believes the move is politically motivated.

“I am considered a dangerous element by the authorities, and they don’t want me here any more,” he said. “There are various reasons, not just the Liu Xiaobo issue.”

Wei, who hails from the southwestern province of Sichuan, was ordered to leave Guangdong and return to his hometown over the anniversary of Liu Xiaobo’s death last month.

Wei was among dozens of activists detained and otherwise sanctioned for taking part in seashore memorials to mark Liu’s death from late-stage liver cancer.

In 2015, Wei was among four activists detained for printing T-shirts in support of China’s embattled human rights lawyers amid a nationwide crackdown affecting more than 300 lawyers, law firm staff and rights activists.

Wei said he plans to leave the province for good if necessary.

“My long-term rights activism has now embroiled my family by association,” he said. “I really don’t think they want me to stay here in Guangdong any more.”

Fellow activist

Fellow activist Huang Yongxiang, who also attended seashore memorials for Liu, said he has been forced to remain in Guangzhou, his hometown, under police restrictions imposed following the funeral.

“I’m not allowed to leave Guangzhou, or not without reporting to the authorities first and receiving permission,” Huang told RFA. “Last time I left on business for a couple of days and I was called in for questioning on my return.”

“They don’t really pay much attention to me most of the time, but on politically sensitive dates, they follow me and watch me from a distance,” he said. “The government always treats its opponents in this way.”

“If you don’t do as you are told, they want to get rid of you entirely,” Huang said. “Last year, I used to run a bar, but they used the same [fire safety] tactics to shut it down.”

Liu Xiaobo died weeks after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer, and repeated requests from his family to seek medical treatment overseas were ignored.

Police have since detained a number of activists who staged memorials in Liu’s honor, including Zhuo Yuzhen, detained in Guangdong’s riverside town of Jiangmen for taking part in a seashore memorial a month after Liu’s passing.

Liu Xiaobo’s widow Liu Xia was allowed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party to leave China for Germany following international pressure, after holding her under house arrest for eight years.

Since arriving in Germany, Liu has been pictured enjoying herself with friends, and sipping beer at a streetside cafe, but has yet to make any public appearances amid fears that her brother Liu Hui may suffer at the hands of the government, should she take an active role in the exile dissident community.



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