Date
21 January 2017
Ding Zilin has alleged that Chinese authorities are questioning all visitors to her house as part of an enhanced surveillance program ahead of the Tiananmen anniversary. Photo: now.com
Ding Zilin has alleged that Chinese authorities are questioning all visitors to her house as part of an enhanced surveillance program ahead of the Tiananmen anniversary. Photo: now.com

‘Tiananmen Mothers’ leader said to be under tighter surveillance

As the 26th anniversary of the bloody June 4 Tiananmen Square crackdown nears, mainland authorities are said to have stepped up surveillance on rights activists and political campaigners in the country. 

Ding Zilin, leader of political pressure group Tiananmen Mothers, has alleged that she is being watched more closely and that visitors to her house in Beijing are also being questioned.

The activist, who is almost 80 years old, believes a new and special wiretap device has been installed in her residence this year.

The proof, according to her, is that some members of her group were summoned to the police station the next day after visiting her in mid-May, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Tiananmen Mothers is an entity made up of families of the victims of China’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Beijing in 1989.

Ding says she has been informed by some of her group members that police officers played secret audio recordings after calling in the members for questioning. 

Hu Jia, a human rights activist, said it appears that authorities are trying to create an atmosphere of fear among the group members and prevent them from contacting each other.

It not uncommon for the authorities in charge of national security to let dissidents know that every move they make is being monitored, he said.

Ding, a former philosophy professor at the People’s University of China, said enhanced monitoring on her could have something to do with her support for veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu.

Gao was sentenced to seven years in jail in April on charges of leaking a Communist Party document that details the leadership’s resolve to clamp down on civil society and press freedom.

After Gao was sentenced, Ding wrote several articles critical of authorities and urged international groups to put pressure on China.

Despite her old age, Ding says she is not afraid of being jailed or assassinated.

She will keep doing what she thinks is right as long as she lives, she was quoted as saying.

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