Aljazeera: No escape: The fearful life of China's exiled dissidents


Activists, journalists and critics of Chinese leadership and authority tell stories of surveillance and threats abroad.

By Steve Chao & Liz Gooch

When Chinese dissident Sheng Xue fled to Canada, she thought she had finally escaped the watchful eye of Chinese authorities.

But late one winter's night, a car pulled up outside her Toronto home.

It marked the beginning of many such clandestine visits by people she believes to be Chinese agents.

Xue, who was granted asylum in Canada, says they contacted her repeatedly, warning they were tracking her every move and threatening to kill her if she continued to criticise China's leaders.

"I thought that I escaped from the fear," says Xue. "I was going to enjoy freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law. But I realised that they are here, their people, their network, their power, and everything is here."

Chinese authorities have long been accused of silencing their critics at home but now it seems their threatening methods of censorship and surveillance are extending to activists who have fled to the supposed safety of foreign soil.

In this exclusive investigation, 101 East reveals that China is taking extreme measures to silence anyone who speaks out against its government.

Interviews with more than 20 activists and journalists in countries like the US, Canada and Australia, paint a disturbing picture of how China uses intimidation and harassment to control overseas dissent.

Some say they have received death threats and been confronted by Chinese agents in their new countries. Others say they have been victims of blackmail and intimidation.

"Chinese authorities took photos of my son while he was on his way to school," says Wen Yunchao, a well-known Chinese blogger who moved his family to New York. "They just wanted to let me know that at any time they can harm my child ... forcing me to do what they want."

Please click this link to view Steven Chao's profile and click here for Liz Gooch's profile. 

Please follow this link to read the entire Aljazeera article, "No escape: The fearful life of China's exiled dissidents."

Please click this link to read more on China's extreme measures against Chinese dissidents in "China: Spies, Lies and Blackmail."

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