Foreign Policy

China detains high-profile activists ahead of Olympics

AP.

Two human rights activists have been detained in China leading up to the Beijing Winter Olympics, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Yang Maodong, a free speech advocate, and Xie Yang, a lawyer known for taking controversial cases regarding religion and land rights, were both detained under the charge of inciting subversion.

Maodong, who was detained in Guangzhou on Jan. 12, was prohibited from leaving China over the past year. His wife, Zhang Qing, was being treated for cancer in the United States during that time.

Maodong was detained two days after his wife passed away, but family members were notified of his detention Monday.

He wrote an open letter to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2020 asking for permission to leave China and visit his wife and had previously spent six years in prison after protesting news censorship in Guangzhou.

Xie was detained Jan. 11 in Changsha, after being detained in 2015 along with a number of other human rights lawyers.

Xie visited Yongshun County in December, where he called for the release of a teacher who claims the Chinese government put her in a psychiatric facility against her will, according to Xie’s wife, Chen Guiqiu.

Guiqiu told The Wall Street Journal that the Chinese government “can make up anything” in order to detain someone like Xie.

When asked about Beijing’s record on human rights, the International Olympic Committee told The Atlantic that “given the diverse participation in the Olympic Games, the IOC must remain neutral on all global political issues.”

Tags activists China detained Olympics
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