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800 Mainland Chinese Sign Up for Relay Hunger Strike, Over 4000 Others Support
By Fang Yuan (02/19/06)

Radio Free Asia
The Relay Hunger Strike for Human Rights, launched recently all across mainland China , has met with enormous resistance from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government. Several supporters and co-workers of Attorney Gao Zhisheng, the civil rights lawyers whose pursuit of justice motivated this movement, who helped with planning the relay hunger strikes have either been abducted by police or placed under house arrest. To protest this suppression, 24 people in 12 (mainland China ) provinces started the relay hunger strike last Friday, February 17. Also on that day, more than 72 organizations and individuals posted their support at the Relay Hunger Strike for Human Rights website .

Friday, February 17 was the 13th day of the relay hunger strike and, judging by the abduction of many participants all across the country, the police’s suppression has intensified. Yet while the CCP steps up its pressure, these advocates for human rights remain unafraid. Protesting against such police brutality, 24 participants carried out a 12 province relay hunger strike on the 17th.

Gao Interfered With, His Supporters Still Missing

According to the latest issue of the Hong Kong magazine Yazhou Zhoukan , more than four thousand people have declared their support for the hunger strike and over 800 have signed up to participate. This relay hunger strike movement is also spreading rapidly in Chinese communities worldwide.

Gao Zhisheng, the attorney who initiated this hunger strike, informed the public on Friday that both his home and office telephones were experiencing service disruptions. At times, he is unable to make any calls at all, and at others, the call is cut off soon after connecting to the other party. Hence, all three of his family members plan to carry on the hunger strike Saturday for 24 hours should this interference with Gao’s ability to communicate persist.

Furthermore, reports indicate that many of those whom the CCP’s government harassed previously have been illegally abducted or detained by the police. On Thursday the 16th, Beijing residents Hu Jia, Qi Zhiyong, Ma Wendu, Ouyang Xiaojie and Attorney Wen Haibo, all of whom have been working with Gao Zhisheng in planning the hunger strike movement, were missing and presumed abducted by police. Of these five, only Wen was released on Friday, but has been placed under house arrest. Wen stated that he was illegally detained by the police for 17 hours and that he was pressured to leave Beijing and Attorney Gao.
Qi Zhiyong was abducted on Thursday morning and later, the police called his wife and said that he was being detained in a Beijing suburb.

Suppression Extends to Other Provinces
Yan Zhengxue, an artist and painter from Zhejiang Province, has been missing for five days. His wife, in a telephone interview, told a reporter that she heard that Beijing police sent him back to his hometown, Taihou, and no one has any further news about him.

A dissident from Shenzhen City, Zhao Dagong, also informed the reporter on Friday afternoon, that he had planned to go to Beijing to catch a flight overseas but was stopped by the police and placed under house arrest for more than two and a half days.

In addition, Yang Zaixin, a civil rights attorney from Guangxi Province was abducted by the police last Thursday and has not yet been returned. Among the participants in the Ten Provinces Hunger Strike held on the 15th, were three appellants from Shanghai: Ma Yalian and Tian Baozhen are currently missing and Fu Yuxia was arrested.