Young Chinese activist detained for wearing anti-Xi Jinping T-shirt

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, Nov 3: A young Chinese activist vocal about China’s crackdown on lawyers, the Tiananmen massacre, Tibet, Hong Kong independence and human rights was secretly detained by  authorities after disclosing plans to wear a t-shirt with messages expressing sentiments against Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Kwon Pyong, a 28-year-old activist who is ethnically Korean was secretly detained in Jilin, a northeastern Chinese province, reports Nov 3.

image- Twitter/Kwon Pyong.
image- Twitter/Kwon Pyong.

Gu Yi, a friend of the activist, made the revelation about the latter’s arrest. An officer at the Yanji police department confirmed to US-backed Radio Free Asia that Kwon is currently in police custody, the report added.

Before his arrest, the activist told Gu that he was planning to wear a t-shirt with anti-Xi messages on the street on on October 1, the founding anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.

The activist drew inspiration from a twitter post of former Tiananmen Square student leader and activist Rose Tang and posted a picture of himself with the t-shirt on his account which read ‘Xitler’ along with Chinese phrases Xi Baozi” (steamed buns) and “Big Spender”, a jab at the Chinese leader.

The pair last conversed on Sept 30, when the young activist reportedly told Gu “something [bad] happened”. since then, Gu has been unable to contact Kwon.

Rose Tang applauded the activist’s unusual dedication for his activism and said Kwon’s arrest signals a new wave of crackdown on Chinese Twitter users supporting democracy and human rights.

“Beijing has been cracking down on Chinese Twitter users for a number of years but his case signals a new wave of crackdowns on young Twitter users in its attempts to diminish the rare and sparse sparks of a pro-democracy and human rights movement which has been stymied since Xi Jinping took office,” the report quoted Tang as saying.

The US-based Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars (IFCSS) has condemned the detention of the activist and called for his immediate release.