Chair of Peking Univ. Marxist Society abducted by police ahead of Mao Zedong memorial

Qiu Zhanxuan, an organizer of the Mao Zedong birthday memorial, was warned by school officials the day before the event

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(By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As 2018 comes to an end the Chinese government continues to harass and arrest members of a Marxist student group at China’s top university, which was suspended in September for its support of a workers’ trade union.

On Wednesday, Dec. 26, the head of the Peking University Marxist Society, Qiu Zhanxuan (邱佔萱), was detained and bundled into a black van by “a group of heavy-set men who identified themselves as police,” reports Reuters.

Qiu was accosted at the east gate of the university, reportedly on his way to attend a memorial celebration marking the 125th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s birth, which he was responsible for organizing.

One student who witnessed the abduction reportedly told Reuters “I saw a black car parked by the gate and seven or eight men in plainclothes lifting him by his arms and legs and forcing him into the car.”

Qiu had reportedly been warned about the memorial for Mao by a school advisor the day before the event (Dec. 25).

The Peking University Marxist Society, and other student activists, have been frustrating the communist government this year by advocating for the rights of construction workers in the city of Shenzhen.

In November, a crackdown on labor activists in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Wuhan saw an unknown number of workers’ rights advocates arrested.

Reuters reports that major state-backed publications have been quiet on the anniversary of Mao’s birth. A “neo-Maoist” journalist in China claims that the “the leftists have gone quiet” this year.

This is likely because a celebration of Mao and his thought would likely clash with Xi’s discourse on 40 years of reform and economic development, which is highlighting market liberalization, and China’s international influence which began under the reign of Deng Xiaoping.

In a speech last week, Xi Jinping emphasized the need for all aspects of society to submit to the leadership of the Chinese communist party. Extolling Marxism and Communism, Xi declared that China was committed to “transforming global governance” in the decades ahead.