Beijing activists arrested on human rights day

2011-12-10 07:49

Several people were detained today in Beijing while trying to present petitions to the United Nations on Human Rights Day.

Police closed off the UN headquarters on the edge of the Chinese capital’s diplomatic quarter and led away detainees to a waiting bus.

About a dozen people sat on the bus at midday waiting to be driven away as other buses stood at the ready nearby for other demonstrators.

The arrests came a day after Nobel laureates and international human rights groups heaped criticism on China and demanded the release of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, and other rights activists.

The UN headquarters in Beijing is a frequent gathering point for demonstrators and petitioners who want to air their grievances about injustice and corruption at the hands of Chinese authorities.

The police barricade around the UN headquarters has increased since China implemented stricter security measures in the wake of the so-called jasmine protests in the spring, which were modelled on the Arab Spring rallies and called for democratic change.

Scores of activists across China disappeared for days or months since February when the online calls for the weekly jasmine gatherings began.

Some of the activists were sentenced to prison, others threatened, tortured and apparently silenced.

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