Chris Buckley of the New York Times reports (porous paywall):
An independent think tank that was one of China’s few remaining bastions for liberal-democratic ideas was shut out of its Beijing offices on Wednesday, throwing its survival into doubt.
Some workers at the think tank, the Unirule Institute of Economics, found themselves briefly trapped inside when the company that manages the lease on the institute’s offices locked and welded its door shut…
…The institute’s executive director, Sheng Hong 盛洪, said the landlord appeared to be acting under pressure from the government authorities. Finding another landlord who would tolerate its presence would be difficult, he said.
“We’re very pessimistic because we clearly understand that there are more senior people behind this, although we don’t have the evidence to prove it.”
The South China Morning Post also has a report on the Unirule’s harassment. Other relevant links:
- In January 2017, the government shut down two websites affiliated with Unirule. Unirule fought back with an unusually critical letter of complaint.
- The Unirule U.S.-hosted website is here. Executive director Sheng Hong is on Twitter.
- Mao Yushi 茅于轼 is the key intellectual leader of Unirule — here is a brief bio. Another interesting character sometimes associated with Unirule is the former Marxist theoretician, businessman, and critical writer Rong Jian 荣剑.
Other grim news — the BBC reports:
One of China’s highest-profile democracy campaigners has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for “subversion of state power.” Qin Yongmin 秦永敏, 64, has already spent a total of 22 years behind bars. Qin had “refused to cooperate with the court” and stayed silent throughout his trial.