HONG KONG —
A group of dissidents in China says authorities in the the city of Qufu have forced them to leave the city after they arrived to press for an investigation into the death of an activist's father while in police custody.
The group says police in the city in southwestern Shandong province seized group members in their hotel Tuesday and forced them to leave town on a train.
But group member Zhai Yanmin told VOA's Mandarin service they plan to return on Wednesday.
“Tomorrow we definitely will go. Many of our people will first stay put and settle down, and then scatter a little bit. If [we’re] too concentrated then they [officials] will take action and carry us away," said Zhai. "After waiting, we will go to the Municipal Committee and City Government and hand over our letter of appeal.”
Police in Qufu have told the family of Xue Fushun that he jumped from a building after being detained by authorities. Officials have not publicly commented on the matter.
Jiang Tianyong, a lawyer for Xue's son, Xue Mingkai, accuses authorities of handling the situation in order to maintain social stability, instead of trying to find out the facts and hold people responsible.
“Basically the entire process has been illegal. Currently authorities don’t want the question to be settled according to the law, but rather in accordance with maintaining stability. In order to eliminate the problem completely, citizen’s right are being trampled on," said Jiang.
Xue Mingkai was released from prison last year after serving a four-year sentence for joining a banned political party. His lawyer said he is afraid to travel to Qufu to arrange for his father's funeral.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.