Police in southwestern China on Thursday took away a veteran activist who runs a rights monitoring website, and seized his computers and mobile phones, the campaigner's mother said.
Eleven police officers turned up at Huang Qi's home in the city of Chengdu and produced a summons for Huang before taking him away, said his mother, Pu Wenqing.
Huang founded a rights monitoring website and has long been one of China's most outspoken advocates for the rights of people who try to bring their grievances to the attention of the government but often face police harassment. He served a five-year prison sentence starting in 2003 on subversion charges linked to politically sensitive articles posted on his website.
The police officers, who were from bureaus in Chengdu and Beijing, also searched Huang's home and took away five computers, two mobile phones and other equipment, Pu said.
The officers said Huang was to be questioned on suspicion of "causing a disturbance" but gave no details, according to Pu. The vaguely defined offense has been used to prosecute activists and petitioners in the past year as part of an ongoing crackdown on dissent.
Reached by phone and fax, police in Chengdu and Beijing did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The involvement of Beijing police indicated that the investigation into Huang might be related to three people who were detained in Beijing earlier this week for writing about a security crackdown in the capital for Huang's website. They have also been accused of "causing a disturbance."
Huang's website regularly reports about the country's countless petitioners' attempts to draw attention to their complaints, which can range from issues such as illegal home demolitions to labor disputes. He is among the most vocal campaigners for people often perceived to be the most vulnerable and powerless in their struggle to defend their rights.