HONG KONG—Authorities in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen have warned activists in the city against holding public meetings ahead of politically sensitive anniversary celebrations next month.
Shenzhen-based activists Li Tie, Guo Yongfeng, and Zhao Dagong all said they had received warnings from China’s state security police ahead of lavish celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Communist Party rule Oct. 1.
“The first time they came to talk to me was around the same time they spoke to Zhao Dagong,” Li said.
“It was the state security police who contacted me, saying that I shouldn’t cause trouble for them and make them look bad.”
Li said he was warned against gathering in the next couple of weeks with any other activists, including Zhao, Yang Yong, and Guo Yongfeng.
He was also been warned against printing T-shirts with anti-government slogans on them and organizing any activities.
Guo said he was also visited Wednesday and warned against meeting up with other activists.
“They came to talk to me. The state security police have been stationed outside my home around the clock for the past few days,” he said.
“When I went downstairs [to the street] they watched me and followed me, and I couldn’t go anywhere until I’d thrown them off.”
On his return, Guo said, the state security police approached his landlord, asking him to speak to Guo on their behalf.
“They are trying to put pressure on me by talking to my landlord,” he said.
The activists said the police frequently asked them out for dinner as a way of keeping an eye on them.
But they vowed to maintain their rights as private citizens.
Li said he has ignored the warnings as far as he is able.
“I tell them I have heard them, but I refuse to respond to what they say. If I did, that would mean I was ready to do as they wanted.”
“They are making illegal demands on a citizen. How can I reply to that? All I will do is give them the time of day and hear what they have to say,” Li added.
Chinese authorities are implementing a nationwide security clampdown ahead of the Oct. 1 National Day celebrations, closing key Web sites and discussion boards and detaining people who try to lodge complaints in Beijing about local governments.
“I walked past the complaints department offices this morning, and I saw a lot of police and official cars to detain petitioners. There were a lot of officials waiting there, each holding a pair of hand restraints,” a Beijing resident surnamed Yang said.
“There were official buses there to take the petitioners away, parked on both sides of the road even,” he said.
“This 60th anniversary celebration for the nation, for the Communist Party, has become a disaster for petitioners.”
Original reporting in Cantonese by Ho Shan and in Mandarin by Yan Xiu. Cantonese service director: Shiny Li. Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Translated and written for the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.