Activists ‘held for Liu Xiaobo memorial’
China / July 26, 2017

At least four men have been detained by Chinese police after publicly commemorating the death of Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, an activist says. The seaside memorial, which took place on 19 July, was part of a widely shared international campaign on social media mourning the dissident’s death. Wei Xiaobing, He Lin, Liu Guangxiao and Li Shujia are being held at a Guangdong detention centre, activist Hu Jia says. Another activist who took part, Wang Xin, was missing, he added. “The detentions are illegal,” Mr Hu told BBC News. “There is no Chinese law that sanctions the punishment of a person who memorialises a death, no matter who that person was.” The four men had been informed by police that they had allegedly disrupted public order, said Mr Hu, who is a long-time Beijing-based activist and a member of the Freedom for Liu Xiaobo Action Group. Last week, the group organised a global social media campaign asking supporters of Liu Xiaobo to post photos of an empty chair next to the sea with the hashtag #withliuxiaobo. Mr Liu, an academic who became a pro-democracy campaigner, was represented at his Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 2010 by an empty chair because…

Chinese children marry each other aged 13
China life / July 26, 2017

Last month, two 13-year-old Chinese children married one another. The small ceremony took place in Ding’an County, Hainan Province in Southern China. Footage has since emerged of the wedding on YouKu, a Chinese streaming service. The nuptials were reportedly arranged by the couple’s parents. In the short clip, the newlyweds can be seen wearing red costumes and bowing to one another as is typical of a traditional Chinese wedding, surrounded by their friends and family. The bride was reportedly five months pregnant at the time. Whilst their actual ages remain unconfirmed, with the majority of reports claiming that the pair are both 13 years old. Either way, the wedding will not be recognised officially by the state as the legal age for women to marry in China is 20 and for men it is 22. However, according to Jiang Quanbao, a professor from Xi’an Jiaotong University, there is no specific penalty for breaching the law in the country. Despite having one of the oldest age restrictions on marriage (in the UK the legal age is 16 whereas in Iran you can legally marry aged nine with judicial consent), numerous incidents of child marriage in China are reported. Just last year,…