China: Rights activists arrested in Shenzhen missing; police give no clue

China detained more than 300 human rights lawyers and legal activists last July in a nationwide sweep.

China: Rights activists arrested in Shenzhen missing families say; police give no clue
Supporters hold a rainbow flag and signs near the courthouse before the hearing in which a Chinese student lodged a suit against the Ministry of Education over school textbooks describing homosexuality as a mental disorder, in Beijing, China September 12, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Eight Chinese rights activists who were taken away from a community meal in the suburbs of southern Chinese city of Shenzhen are still missing and the relatives have no clue as where they have been put up, Radio Free Asia reported.

Chinese stat security personnel raided the place where the activists and friends were having a meal on Monday, the portal reported, even as China has stepped up crackdown on people engaging in anti-Communist propaganda in the country.

A Chinese court last week convicted a pro-democracy campaigner to five years in prison, after holding him in jail for two years before the trial started. The activist identified as Sun Feng had posted a photo of himself holding a placard that denounced the "one party dictatorship", in reference to the Chinese Communist Party.

He had also written a post titled "The Communist Bandits, members of the Marxist-Leninist evil cult of atheism and dialectical materialism have destroyed one of the cornerstones of human civilization," the portal said.

The people who were arrested in Monday's raid are incommunicado as their cell phones are switched off and the police give no clue about their whereabouts.

"Eight of the people who were detained are now, it seems, incommunicado ... We don't know if they've been formally detained, because there has been no official notification of detention," a source told RFA.

The local police station is denying all knowledge of any case involving the arrested men, the activists say. Some of those who were detained have been named as Hongcheng, Xiao Bing, Wang Wei, Wang Jun, Li Yan, and Shen Li.

The Human Rights Watch said more than 300 human rights lawyers and legal activists were detained last July in a nationwide sweep. The rights watchdog said that the outlook for fundamental human rights in China has grown dire" Under President Xi Jinping.