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A Tiananmen Square activist has been told he can’t go anywhere near Xi Jinping

Reuters/Peter Nicholls
Shao Jiang before his Oct. 21 arrest.
By Heather Timmons
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Chinese dissident Shao Jiang was one of three activists arrested in London on Oct. 21 ”on suspicion of conspiracy to commit threatening behaviour” as they protested Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK.  In order to be released on bail, Shao had to agree to somewhat unusual terms—he had to promise to stay 100 meters away from Xi, who London police refer to as “the victim.”

The activist tweeted a copy of the order (which spells Xi’s name wrong) on Oct. 23, which lays out the terms of his bail:

Shao was apparently attempting a pretty spectacular stunt at the time of his arrest: a recreation of the famous Tiananmen Square “tank man” photo, but with him positioned in front of Xi’s motorcade, holding signs that said “End autocracy” and “Democracy Now.” Before the motorcade reached him, he was aggressively removed by Metropolitan Police:

Shao helped organize the 1989 student protests in Tiananmen, escaped China after being arrested for months, and moved to the UK, where has worked as an IT technician and now writes about China for Amnesty International. After his arrest this week, his home was searched by British police, his wife told The Independent, and his computer was confiscated. “It was like I was back in China again,” she said.

As a condition of his bail, Shao was not only forbidden from being within 100 meters of Xi, he was forbidden from “being within one mile” of Chequers, the British prime minister’s country retreat, and from being “within one mile” of Heathrow Airport without a valid ticket for travel on Oct. 22-23. (Xi is leaving Britain today, presumably from Heathrow).

Xi’s visit to the UK has been marked by formal ceremony and a flurry of business deals and agreements, but Britain’s warm reception has been criticized by foreign policy experts as being too obsequious and by human rights experts as ignoring China’s history of violating individual citizens’ rights.

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