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Hong Kongers to Protest for Ai Weiwei’s Release


Members of the Democratic Party were set to start a 62-hour fast outside the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong Friday. Activist group Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China plans a protest march for Sunday.  Ai Weiwei

Under the “one country, two systems” policy, the people of Hong Kong—a “special administrative region” of China—have the freedom to speak and demonstrate. Local activists regularly make use of them to criticize Beijing’s human-rights record, though some say the recent wave of arrests, which follows online calls for a “Jasmine revolution” in China, marks the worst crackdown in years.

“It’s the dark age for China in terms of human rights,” says legislator Lee Cheuk-Yan, who became chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance after the death of democracy advocate Szeto Wah in January.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 200 people have been detained or threatened with arrest for dissent in China since mid-February. Six prominent human-rights lawyers have “disappeared” and four other activists have been formally arrested on state-security charges, the human rights group said in an April 6 release.

“It’s not only Ai Weiwei, but also other eminent activists. It’s been an ongoing campaign,” says Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho, who is spearheading the 62-hour fast. He says since February 2009, when police first detained prominent human-rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, he’s protested by refraining from eating for 24 hours every Wednesday. (Mr. Gao was released in March 2010, but disappeared again the following month.)



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