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"There is a sense that the authorities want to put an end to the kind of open defiance of the government by rights activists, people who have been fairly active on Twitter and other social networks who were allowed for a couple of years to do that," Mr. Bequelin said.
Nicholas Bequelin, senior Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said the crackdown is even more serious than the one in December, when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a jailed Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo.