Rights Groups Issue China Travel Warnings

'Freedom alerts' warn of danger to activists, journalists
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2011 5:03 AM CDT
Graffiti on a Hong Kong Street shows detained artist and activist Ai Weiwei and the words "Who's afraid of Ai Weiwei?"   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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(Newser) – Human rights groups urging travelers to avoid mainland China because of the suppression of dissidents have now issued special alerts for certain areas. The Hong Kong-based groups issued the highest level of alert for Beijing and Shanghai, warning that the cities have seen the largest number of repressive incidents since a crackdown on dissent began earlier this year, reports the South China Morning Post.

Guangdong and Sichuan provinces also rated the highest level of alert. Travelers were urged to avoid non-essential travel to six other provinces and exercise caution in the rest of China. "Suppression of freedom of expression has increased drastically since February, so we are calling on people to avoid going to the mainland—you don't know when your words will bring trouble," said the chair of Hong Kong's Journalists Association. "You might disappear, be detained, or arrested. At least 62 people have been suppressed in these ways since February 19"—the date when activists declared that China's "Jasmine Revolution" had begun.

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