Lifestyle & Belief

China's crackdown intensifies: 2 more dissidents missing


Paper money is burnt during a protest outside the Chinese liason office in Hong Kong on April 3, 2011. The protesters were supporting mainlanders after the government on March 29 formally arrested two activists on charges of "inciting subversion" amid a widening crackdown on dissent.


Ed Jones

Two more disappearances, both linked to Ai Weiwei, have come to light in China amid a widening crackdown on dissidents in the country.

As The Guardian reports, a rights lawyer linked to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei — who himself went missing on April 3 after being detained at the Beijing airport — has not been heard from since Thursday night.

The lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan, posted a message on a microblog at 8 p.m. Thursday saying he was being "followed by identified people." His phone is currently switched off, the Guardian said.

In addition, a designer from the company handling Ai Weiwei's affairs was taken by police six days ago, according to supporters.

Liu Zhenggang, 49, was taken from his Beijing home on 9 April and no one has been able to reach him since. Liu worked for FAKE, the design and architecture firm that belongs to the Ai's wife.

These are the latest detentions in what is proving to be one of the toughest crackdowns in China in recent years. The wave of brutality appears to have been sparked by anonymous calls online for "Jasmine Revolution" protests inspired by the Middle East uprisings.

Among the others missing are: Ai's friend Wen Tao, 38; his driver and cousin Zhang Jinsong, also known as Xiao Pang, 43; and accountant Hu Mingfen, 55.