The annual political drama of China’s “two sessions” will be staged in Beijing next week. The unique Chinese “two sessions” period of stability maintenance has also begun, with security levels raised around the country. This year’s sessions are seen as an important part of the staffing process ahead of the change in the top echelons of the Communist Party’s top 20 powers, and authorities have significantly stepped up security measures to ensure a smooth session.
Second security check for mail entering Beijing
This year’s Beijing sessions coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party’s founding and the start of the 14th five-year plan for China’s economy.
To ensure safety during the two sessions, China’s State Post Bureau issued a notice saying that from February 25, mail and express mail entering Beijing will be subject to “secondary security checks” and enforcement checks and accountability will be increased.
The notice said that Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shandong, Liaoning provinces (regions and cities) Postal Administration to strengthen information sharing and coordination and linkage, and strive to build a “moat” around the Beijing mail security line of defense.
The notice also said that postal management departments at all levels to strengthen emergency duty and information reporting, February 25 to the next day after the closing of the meeting to implement a 24-hour duty and leadership system.
Families of dissidents implicated
At the same Time, human rights defenders and dissidents in Beijing began to be more strictly monitored.
As has been the practice during the sensitive period of the two sessions in previous years, some dissidents will be traveled outside the city. However, veteran media personality and columnist Gao Yu told the Voice of America that she will not be traveling during the sessions this year due to the Epidemic and financial reasons, but police at the police station recently told her that state security would definitely come to her door before the sessions.
“I said come I won’t be allowed in the door.” Gao Yu said, “You have to explain to me who handled this and made my son unemployed until now.”
Gao Yu’s son originally worked for a non-governmental public interest organization. Gao Yu, a longtime critic of current politics who has served three prison terms, said that her son lost his job last year when an official from the authorities called the NGO to ask for his dismissal.
Gao Yu said that in addition to arresting and punishing people, breaking people’s jobs has become a tactic used by the authorities to intimidate and silence dissidents, with one high-profile example being the unwarranted layoff of Wei Huanhuan, a kindergarten English teacher and wife of Hunan rights activist Ou Biaofeng. Wei is the mother of two young children.
Ou Biaofeng was arrested and placed under surveillance by Zhuzhou City State Security last November for helping Dong Yaoqiong, a girl who spilled ink, to speak out about “being mentally ill. The charge was “suspected of inciting subversion of state power”.
In early February, Dong Yaoqiong was sent to Zhuzhou City Psychiatric Hospital. This is the third time she has been sent to a psychiatric hospital since she splashed ink on Xi Jinping‘s portrait in Shanghai on July 4, 2018.
Gao Yu, a veteran journalist in Beijing, noted that this year’s sessions are crucial for Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s quest for another term in office and the restoration of the lifelong system of leadership positions, and that authorities must ensure that safety is not compromised.
Forced Repatriation of Foreign Visitors
After the recent explosion near Zhongnanhai in Beijing, news continues to spread that out-of-town petitioners are being repatriated for stability maintenance, proving once again that stability maintenance is clearly escalating.
On the afternoon of the Lantern Festival, Liaoning rights defender Jiang Jiawen was intercepted in Beijing before the two sessions. He sent a text message saying that five people in a police van had surrounded him in a private house in Fangshan District where he was temporarily staying. His cell phone is currently switched off. The officer answering the phone at the Seventh Avenue Police Station in Dandong Yuanbao District said he received notice that Jiang Jiawen would be brought in on the morning of the 16th day of the first month, and that the station was ordered to receive him. Asked what the reason for arresting Jiang Jiawen, the other side said they did not know.
Jiang was also forcibly stopped and taken to the police station on his way to watch Ren’s trial in Beijing on Sept. 11-12 of last year. After his release, he told VOA that he had done nothing illegal, but was detained, interrogated and deported anyway.
Over the past two decades, Jiang has been arrested, imprisoned, and sent to reeducation-through-labor dozens of times, but still persists in defending his rights and petitioning, making him the “champion of reeducation-through-labor” among China’s rights groups.
According to Minsheng Watch, a human rights website, Jiang was sent back to Dandong during the two sessions of the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress last May, and was held for 14 days under the pretext of an epidemic.
It is more than 1,000 kilometers from Dandong to Beijing. He was sent to Dandong from Beijing by a police car. Minsheng Watch pointed out that the cost of using a police car to pick up a human rights defender in Beijing is much higher than taking a high-speed train, a moving train or a plane, which is the cost of maintaining stability in the Chinese style, using taxpayers’ money and preferring to spend high costs to maintain stability rather than spend a penny to solve the problem.
Jiang Jiawen told VOA earlier that in November 2001, he was seriously injured by someone on purpose, and the Dandong Municipal Public Prosecutor’s Office covered up the alleged assailant, so he started to petition for his rights, and was reeducated through labor five times for a total of five years, sentenced to one and a half years in prison, administrative detention and black jail nearly 20 times each, and was held for more than 100 months.
Before and after Jiang’s forcible repatriation, other petitioners from Shandong, Hebei and Heilongjiang were also escorted to their places of origin by local interceptors.
Authorities step up security measures
Xu Yan, the wife of Beijing human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng, told the Voice of America that she was under security surveillance for about 20 days during the two sessions last year and is likely to continue to be under security surveillance this year, as the security bungalow below her has been opened and someone is inside.
Lawyer Yu Wensheng, a defense lawyer in the 709 case, was arrested and charged with inciting subversion of state power after publicly suggesting in January 2018 that the Chinese Communist Party amend the constitution to change the method of selecting the president of the country from an equal to a differential election. In December last year, the second trial upheld the sentence of four years in prison and three years of deprivation of political rights handed down in the first trial.
Recently, a number of high-profile stability cases involving dissidents and human rights defenders have been held in court, including cases involving Beijing businesswoman Geng Xiaonan, Beijing human rights defender Quan Shixin, and former Anhui prosecutor Shen Liangqing.
Earlier this month, Geng Xiaonan was sentenced to three years in prison for “illegal business operation. But it is widely believed that she was retaliated against by authorities for her solidarity with Xu Zhangrun, a former Tsinghua University law professor who has been a serial critic of Xi Jinping.
Quan Shixin and Shen Liangqing, both of whom have tweeted frequently about current affairs on the international social media platform, were each charged with pocket charges of “alleged provocation and nuisance.
Not long ago, Li Qiaochu, the girlfriend of New Citizens advocate Dr. Xu Zhiyong, was arrested and detained in Linyi, Shandong Province on charges of “subversion of state power.
Last October, He Fangmei and her husband Li Xin, the founder of the vaccine babies’ Home, who threw paint at a government sign in Hui County, Henan Province, to protest the fake vaccine issue, were disappeared and their whereabouts remain unknown.
The case is seen as a typical example of the Communist Party’s intensified efforts to suppress freedom of expression and critical voices in the run-up to the 20th National Congress next year.