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Press freedom activist manhandled, detained and threatened by Beijing police

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns the way police officers manhandled, detained and threatened writer and press freedom activist Liu Xiaobo on the evening of 4 June 2008 as he was leaving his Beijing home with his wife, Liu Xia, to go and have dinner at someone else's home.

The police grabbed him by the head, neck and arm, led him away and held him for several hours. They finally escorted him back to his home and told him he could not go out.

The press freedom organisation stresses its support for Liu, who in 2004 was awarded the Reporters Without Borders - Fondation de France prize for defending press freedom.

"The behaviour of these police officers on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre shows that, 19 years later, the authorities continue to crack down on those who campaign peacefully for the rehabilitation of the victims of the events of 4 June 1989," Reporters Without Borders said.

Liu is a leading human rights figure. His writings include an essay condemning the frequent use of subversion charges - which are brought against many cyber-dissidents - as a "legal aberration."

Liu spent two years in prison after publicly defending the June 1989 pro-democracy movement. He was sentenced to another three years of reeducation through work in 1996 for questioning the Communist Party's monopoly on party political activity.

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