The Straits Times
Published on Nov 19, 2012

China activists dead in custody: Rights groups


BEIJING (AFP) - At least two activists died in custody before or during China's Communist Party congress and tens of thousands had their movements restricted, rights groups said on Monday.

The action was part of the government's "maintenance stability" campaign aimed at preventing any sign of unrest during the party gathering in Beijing, which ended last week, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) said.

The congress ushered in a once-a-decade leadership change, with President Hu Jintao stepping down from his top party post to make way for Mr Xi Jinping, who is due to be named state president in March.

CHRD - a nationwide network of activists in China who compile reports of human rights violations - said Mr Zhang Yaodong, a petitioner from Henan province, was beaten to death in police custody in the capital on Nov 5.