China Dissident Missing In Action

Teng Biao, a prominent human rights activist, is reported missing and most probably arrested by Chinese authorities who are cracking down on dissidents in preparation for the upcoming Olympics. Biao has been defending members of the Falun Gong practitioners and farmers fighting for their land. He was last seen on Thursday being bundled into a black car outside his home in Beijing. Biao was recently warned by the police he would be detained unless he stpped talking to foreign media and writing abut human rights abuses in his homeland. Shortly before being seized by the police, he told reporters for the Manchester Guardian that his passport had been seized, his phone bugged and emails checked by authorities.

Biao told reporters, “they told me I cannot accept any interview related to human rights and the Olympics. I said I cannot make such a promise. I have a right to speak. I’m not sure if they will arrest me tomorrow. but I feel no fear.” Friends say he was under extreme pressure and feared being charged with inciting subversion of state power which carries a sentence of several years in prison. Last month, Hu Ji, a friend of Biao, was arrested and will probably be charged with the crime of subversive behavior.

Visitors to the Olympics will behold the beauty of China, they will see new skyscrapers and modern stadiums, but they will not see the faces of those in prison who uphold democratic principles. They are the dissidents who are missing in action in the war for democracy.