China: Authorities have arrested numerous artists

16 October 2014


Chinese authorities are reported to have arrested at least five artists on the Chinese mainland who have shown support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The Chinese authorities are determined to prevent pro-democracy rallies in Hong Kong from spilling across the border into the mainland, so they have detained at least 10 people, including a group of artists who attended a poetry reading inspired by the protests in Hong Kong.

On 11 October 2014, three artists were taken away from Beijing’s Songzhuang art enclave. According to the BBC, the arrests were likely connected to the artists’ support of the Hong Kong protests. The artists are the 42-year-old painter from Shandong Province, Zhang Haiying, the 36-year-old poet and writer Ouyang Xiajie, and the 39-year-old Tibetan artist and painter Kuang Laowu.

Previously, allegedly also because of their solidarity with the Hong Kong occupation, Beijing Songzhuang police arrested the well-known poet Wang Zang and the artist Cui among six other people.

On 30 September, Wang Zang had posted the above picture of himself on Twitter, raising his middle finger and holding the umbrella – a symbol of solidarity adopted by the protesters demanding open nominations for Hong Kong’s chief executive.

Police apprehended Wang Zang in front of his Beijing home on the night of 1 October 2014, searched his apartment and confiscated a light blue umbrella he had used in a picture posted on Twitter, as well as a computer, a router and other materials, his wife Wang Li told The Associated Press.

Lawyer Sui Muqing said his client was detained for “provoking trouble,” which he said carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.

At least another 20 people in mainland China have been detained for supporting the protesters, including posting pictures and messages online showing solidarity and planning to travel to Hong Kong to join protesters, according to human rights group Amnesty International. Another 60 have been called in by police for questioning.

Voice Project / AP – 10 October 2014:
Chinese artist arrested after tweeting picture with umbrella
Chinese police detained a well-known poet and seven other people ahead of a poetry reading planned in Beijing to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, relatives of the detained said.

» Artnet News – 13 October 2014:
Artists Arrested for Supporting Hong Kong Protests
By Zoe Li

» BBC News – 11 October 2014:
Beijing: Well-known human rights activist Guo Yu in detention

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