Chinese rights activists were detained and beaten by government thugs as Michelle Obama, her daughters and mother landed in Chengdu Tuesday to see pandas.
According to Radio Free Asia, authorities were afraid the activists would try to meet with Mrs. Obama.
From the report:
Sichuan-based rights group Tianwang said policemen and plainclothes officers beat up a group of land protesters on the streets of the provincial capital Chengdu, before dragging them to a police station.
The petitioners are villagers who lost their homes or farmland in land grabs and forced demolitions by the government and local property developers, according to the 64 Tianwang rights group website.
What’s more, Michelle’s China vacation has caused some activists to get a vacation of their own:
Tianwang founder and veteran activist Huang Qi said the authorities had taken a number of local activists on “forced vacation” ahead of Obama’s two-day visit to Chengdu, where she, her mother and two daughters are scheduled to visit a panda sanctuary and eat in a Tibetan restaurant.
Michelle has avoided meeting with Chinese rights activists while on her trip to China, which has included large elements of vacation-style enjoyment for her and her family. Now, her trip has actually caused some of those activists harm.
Mrs. Obama and her family today toured the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and ate at a Tibetan restaurant before departing Chengdu. The are now on their way back to the United States.