When visiting friends in China’s capital, environmental activist Wu Lihong must slip away from his rural home before sunrise, before the police officers watching his home awaken.
He rides a bus to an adjacent province and jumps aboard a train just minutes before departure to avoid being spotted.
In a neighboring province, veteran dissident Yin Weihong finds himself hauled into a police station merely for keeping in touch with old friends from the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement. While he’s technically a free man, the treatment makes it virtually impossible to keep a job or have a normal home life.
A quarter century after the movement’s suppression, China’s communist authorities oversee a raft of measures for muzzling dissent and preventing protests. They range from the sophisticated — extensive monitoring of online debate and control over media — to the relatively simple — routine harassment of government critics and maintenance of a massive domestic security force.