A mainland driver for the Hong Kong-based i-Cable news channel has been taken away for questioning this Wednesday, after the station livestreamed a memorial for late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in the city of Jiangmen.

The Guangzhou-based employee drove i-Cable’s Hong Kong reporters to the ceremony on July 19 in the city’s Xinhui District to conduct a Facebook live stream. Around ten people were at the ceremony, who were willing to show their faces despite knowing that they could be arrested.

After the ceremony, at least five activists who participated were taken away to the Xinhui police station for allegedly assembling a crowd to disturb order in a public place.

A mourning ceremony for Liu Xiaobo in Xinhui, Jiangmen on July 19. Photo: Twitter.

Earlier on Friday, the Freedom for Liu Xiaobo Action Group tweeted that a lawyer went to the police station to visit one of the detained activists.

The group said the lawyer saw a top i-Cable manager there, who was attempting to visit the driver. The driver’s family and their lawyer were also present. The group said i-Cable’s lawyer has not been able to meet the driver.

i-Cable then confirmed that the driver, who works for the Guangzhou bureau of the channel, was taken away for questioning on Wednesday night by officers from the Xinhui police station.

The news channel said it was trying to understand the reason for his detention through multiple channels, and that it has provided legal assistance to the driver.

Liu Xiaobo was jailed in 2008 after co-writing the Charter ’08 manifesto calling for democratic reforms. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for “subversion” a year later.

Liu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, was pronounced dead on July 13 while under heavy surveillance at a hospital in Shenyang, China.

His body was cremated and buried at sea near the northeast city of Dalian, just three days after his death.

His friends and supporters have urged the public to mourn by the seaside, as activists launched global events to commemorate his death.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.