Beijing, Sep 1 (SocialNews.XYZ) The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in China has announced that it will hold its 20th National Congress on October 16 amid a mounting wave of censorship and curbs on the freedom of dissident voices around the country, media reports said.
A Beijing-based petitioner surnamed Ma said the police have already started rounding up petitioners, ordinary people who pursue complaints against local government's wrongdoing through China's "letters and visits" system, despite frequent detention and harassment from "interceptors" sent from their hometowns to stop them, RFA reported.
"The Beijing police started rounding up petitioners more than 10 days ago -- they've all been taken back to where they came from. People came from Heilongjiang more than 10 days ago to detain people, and we got into a fight with officers from the police station," she said.
"There were 60 households in the building, and they were going door-to-door, checking on people. I was detained too... People from our hometowns are being permitted to come to Beijing for law enforcement. The village where I live was a total mess on August 30, too, with everyone very nervous," she added.
Ma said hotels have been told not to let anyone from out of town stay longer than a week at a time, RFA reported.
"Before the pandemic, it was 15 days, but now it's been shortened to seven days," she said.
A Liaoning petitioner surnamed Zhang said that, once they get home, petitioners face house arrest or even detention by local police and government officials.
"No petitioners are being allowed to go to Beijing right now. They are basically targeting petitioners from [all over China] in Beijing.
"If you go to the State Bureau of Letters and Visits, you will be intercepted by police from your local area, and put in quarantine as if you have COVID-19," Zhang said.
State security police have also been calling and summoning dissidents and rights activists to warn them to keep quiet and not to give interviews to overseas media, sources told RFA.
"The police just had one thing to say to me, that I'm not to speak out, write anything or give interviews to foreign journalists in the run-up to the 20th National Congress," an independent scholar said.
Liaoning petitioner and rights activist Jiang Jiawen said he was under round-the-clock surveillance by local authorities in a hospital in Dandong city near the border with North Korea.
"Since I came back to Dandong to go to hospital, there have been two of them living in the same room as me. I'm in a single bed, and they're in double beds, in a hotel room that has been specially designed to hold me," Jiang told RFA.
"There is steel fencing, and none of the other rooms have that," he said, adding that police made him sign a guarantee that he wouldn't travel to Beijing to petition before the party congress, and the authorities would feed and house him, as well as paying for his medical treatment, RFA reported.