A Chinese activist who made his name as a grassroots organiser has disappeared, his son said on Tuesday, claiming authorities did not want his father to attend a U.S. consulate reception to mark Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Yao Lifa, a well-known advocate of free elections from Hubei province in central China, was due to attend the reception held by the U.S. consulate in Wuhan, the provincial capital.
But Yao disappeared on Sunday in Beijing, failing to turn up at a meeting with friends there, his son Yao Yao told Reuters. Yao Lifa also failed to use a train ticket he had bought to take him to Wuhan on Monday.
Yao Yao said his father appears to have been detained by local authorities but also said he has no idea of his father’s whereabouts. Yao Lifa’s mobile phone had a ring tone when called, but nobody answered repeated calls.
“He’s often been informally detained by officials from Qianjiang before, and I think it’s the same this time,” said Yao Yao, the son. “I think they did not like him going to the Obama inauguration reception.”