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Chinese Activists Under House Arrest During Qingming Festival

7 years ago158 views

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Tuesday was China's traditional Qingming festival, known as the 'tomb-sweeping festival.' But for some Chinese activists, the festival was overshadowed by house arrests and increased surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party.

The Qingming festival is one of the oldest traditions in Chinese history. Every year, around April 5th, Chinese people honor their ancestors by visiting their gravesites, sweeping their tombs and placing offerings. But in China, some were unable to pay their respects.

Democracy activist Chen Xi, from southwestern Guiyang province, says communist authorities are tightening their surveillance amid calls for middle-eastern inspired protests.

[Chen Xi, Guiyang Democracy Activist]:
"Because of the Jasmine Revolution, I've been under surveillance, made to go on trips and put under house arrest for two months. Now I'm home. They've set up a station here, stopping me from going to sensitive places and following me around. Last year they intercepted us when we were going to sweep the tombs."

On Sunday, Hubei activist Yao Lifa was planning to visit his mother's grave with his family. But three security agents stopped them from leaving their home.

[Yao Lifa, Hubei Democracy Activist]:
"Why have they taken this violent approach, not letting me or my family sweep my mother's tomb on this national holiday? What's their aim? They're afraid because [Sunday] was the 7th wave of China's Jasmine Revolution. They're scared I'd participate or join others."

Although the tomb-sweeping festival has been a part of China's culture for centuries, the Chinese communist regime only officially recognized it in 2008. The national holiday is marked by increased security at so-called sensitive places like Tiananmen Square.

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