Human rights campaigner and Tiananmen survivor Shao Jiang has been arrested in London for protesting during a welcome procession for visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping, The Independent reported. His house was also reportedly raided.
Formerly a political prisoner in China due to his role in the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, Shao Jiang currently lives in London in exile.
The 47-year-old on Friday posted on Twitter that he has been released on parole at 4pm the day before and thanked people for their support.
“My computers and mobile phones are still with the police, who are searching for evidence to charge me. I’m terribly sorry about the inconvenience and unease this caused my friends.”
— Shao Jiang 邵江 (@shaojiang) October 23, 2015
Shao Jiang had reportedly been holding two signs calling for democracy and recognition of the Tiananmen Massacre. A video posted by Tibet Relief Fund showed him standing on the road with the banners, then being tackled and pushed to the side by a police officer. A couple more officers surrounded him soon after.
Shao Jiang’s wife, Joanna Zhang, told the Independent that she felt like she “was back in China again” when she was notified of her husband’s arrest. “All he was doing in the morning was holding protest signs. They were Amnesty International signs calling for the Chinese to end the crackdown. The police here in the UK are now doing the same things as in China.”
— 钟帼仁Ⓜ️ (@Chinahand6) October 23, 2015
Two British-Tibetan women identified as Sonam Choden, 30, and Jamphel Lhamo, 33, were also arrested and taken away by police outside London’s Mansion House for “[attempting] to wave Tibetan flags at President Xi’s passing car.”
Police told Quartz that “All three were further arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit threatening behaviour. They were taken into custody at a central London police station where they remain at this time”.
In a press conference on Thursday, Xi said Beijing has “found a path of human rights development suited to China’s conditions… With regard to the protection of human rights, looking around the world we note there is always room for improvement.”
Groups including Amnesty International and Free Tibet planned protests throughout Xi’s visit. Protesters waved Tibetan flags and held signs that read, “End the Crackdown” and “Cameron: Don’t Trade Away Human Rights” during the carriage procession, but were outnumbered by pro-China demonstrators, AFP reported.