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After protests, before major events and to end mass movements the Chinese government attacks back: By arresting its citizens.

During the past 30 years, the Chinese state arrested at least 9,500 citizens for committing political crimes, according to a database by the U.S. Executive Commission on China. Most of these prisoners were detained because of issues related to basic rights such as freedom of speech, religion or association.

  • In 1989, in the aftermath of democratic student movements and the Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing, 723 political prisoners were detained. A vast majority was detained because of freedom of speech issues.
  • After the Chinese authorities in 1995 abducted the second most-important religious leader in Tibet, the Panchen Lama, Tibetans protested and were arrested by the police.
  • In the late 1990s, the spiritual Falun Gong movement gained popularity among tens of millions of Chinese. After more and more Chinese joined the movement, the government started to see it as a threat to its power and cracked down on it starting from 1999 until today.
  • In 2008, amid the Olympics soon to begin, the next big detention wave started. Prominent dissidents were arrested, but also Tibetans who used the occasion to stage protests were detained. At the end of 2008, the Charta 08 was signed by Chinese intellectuals, demanding for democratic reform in China. This also led to further arresting in this year and the years after.
  • The last big crackdown happened in 2015, when the Chinese state decided to arrest a large number of human rights lawyers and activists. More than 200 people were at least temporarily detained, some are imprisoned until now.