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China: Release supporters of Hong Kong protests

    Pro-democracy protesters in central Hong Kong on Tuesday night.© Chris McGrath/Getty
    Pro-democracy protesters in central Hong Kong on Tuesday night.© Chris McGrath/Getty
    October 01, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all those detained for peacefully showing support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, said Amnesty International.

    At least 20 people have been detained by police in several cities in mainland China over the past two days for posting pictures online with messages of support for the protesters, shaving their heads in solidarity, or for planning to travel to Hong Kong to participate in the protests.

    A further 60 have been called in for questioning by the authorities, known as being 'invited for tea'.

    "The rounding up of activists in mainland China only underlines why so many people in Hong Kong fear the growing control Beijing has in their city's affairs," said William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International.

    "The fundamental freedoms being exercised by hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong continue to be denied to those in mainland China."

    Police are known to have detained people in Beijing, Jiangsu, and the southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, which are close to Hong Kong.

    "The Chinese authorities must immediately release all those being detained for peacefully expressing their support for protesters in Hong Kong," said William Nee.

    Chinese state censors have attempted to block any mentions online of the pro-democracy protests. The popular photo-sharing platform Instagram was banned in mainland China on Tuesday.

    Thousands of people continue to occupy parts of downtown Hong Kong to demand greater electoral reform.

    The unnecessary use of tear gas and pepper spray by police at the weekend against an essentially peaceful protest only brought more people out on to the streets.

    Police have in the last few days taken a less confrontational approach to the demonstrations since the weekend but there is much uncertainty about what will happen next.

    "The Hong Kong police must show restraint in any response to the ongoing protest. Amnesty International urges them not to go down the route their counterparts in mainland China too often choose. They must respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression," said William Nee.

    Individuals detained

    Amnesty International is aware the following individuals have been detained by the police in mainland China for expressing support for protesters in Hong Kong:
    Ou Biaofeng (欧彪峰) -- Hunan activist, freedom of movement curtailed
    Wang Long (汪龙), Shenzhen activist, criminally detained on the charge of “provoking quarrels and causing troubles”
     
    Huang Minpeng (黄敏鹏), Guangzhou activist
    Luo Xiaoxiang (刘小翔), Guangzhou activist
    Liu Hui (刘辉), Guangzhou activist
    Xie Dan (谢丹)—Chongqing activist
    Luo Yaling (罗亚玲)– Chongqing activist,  
    Song Ningsheng (宋宁生), Jiangsu activist, detained
    Gong Xinsheng (龚新华), Jiangsu activist, detained
    Chen Maosen (陈茂森), Jiangsu activist, detained
    Shen Yanqiu (沈艳秋), Shanghai
    Chen Jianfang (陈建芳), Shanghai

    The following Beijing activists have reported they have had their freedom of movement curtailed:
    Liu Huizhen (刘惠珍)
    Li Dongmei (李东梅)
    Guo Zhiying (郭志英)
    Chen Lianhe (陈连和)
    Wu Xiaoping (吴小平)
    Han Shuzhen (韩淑珍)
    Cui Baofi (崔宝地)
    Zhang Chonggang(张崇刚)

    Amnesty International's human rights experts in Hong Kong continue to monitor the authorities' response to protests around the clock.

    If you are interested in an interview or briefing on the situation please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca