Chinese activist warned over launching website

A veteran Chinese pro-democracy campaigner based in Wuhan has been warned by state security police not to proceed with plans for a website aimed to promote “peaceful” reform. Qin Yongmin, who was freed from prison in November 2010 after serving a 10-year sentence for subversion, told Radio Free Asia he was surrounded by police last week as he came out of a computer store and taken to a police station. RFA reports:

“I had been planning to launch the ‘Peaceful Transition Advice’ website hosted overseas,” Qin said. “They told me that I absolutely could not do this.”

“They said that if I launched it in the morning, they would arrest me in the afternoon, and that they would pursue the harshest kind of punishment for me,” he said.
Police also questioned him about a meeting he held on Feb. 14 at a restaurant in Wuhan with two political activists from the Pan-Blue Alliance, a member of the writers’ group Independent Chinese PEN, and a number of petitioners, Qin said.

“They told me that meeting was the reason that they were very alarmed,” Qin said.

“We were on the second floor of the restaurant, and the police took over the entire third floor,” he said. “They told me that no matter where I went or whom I met with, they would know all about it.”

The report added that Qin had been placed under 24-hour surveillance by officials from his home district in Wuhan since his release, and subjected to searches of his home and confiscation of his keys and computer equipment. Fellow activists have said they have been forbidden from visiting the activist, who was involved in the 1981 Democracy Wall movement and attempted to register the Democracy Party of China in 1998.