Although U.S. President Bush's Beijing trip was only for two days, the Beijing police had been busy for many days. On November 17, Beijing police conducted a large-scale search in the South Beijing railway station and “Appeal Village” – the place where poor people who come to Beijing for appeals gather together. Several hundred people were arrested from November 16 to 20. Almost all of the well-known right activists, democratic activists and opposition have been put under close monitoring. Many appealers, even elderly grandmothers who do not go to appeal often, were monitored. When Bush's car fleet was driving towards Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, around 60 police vehicles and 200 policemen patrolled the route. Rural construction workers, who were digging trenches for laying electrical cables, were forced to wait 30 meters (~100 feet) away.
Beijing Government Deconstruct “Appeal Village” and Arrest Hundreds People
Because the Beijing government deconstructed the “Appeal Village” and most of the appealers are very poor and could not afford to rent normal resident houses in Beijing, many of them had to sleep on the street or in railway station waiting halls.
On November 17, the police searched “Appeal Village.” Many appealers cried “help” when facing the arrests, but the police simply said they were carrying out orders.
On the same day, the police also blocked the two exits of the South Beijing Railway Station with the excuse of “checking tickets” and arrested two to three hundreds appealers.
Just before Bush's visit, many appealers in Beijing had been forced to leave Beijing. It used to be very busy in the morning in front of China's Supreme Court, with many appealers, but it was very quiet during the several days, and few appealers could be found.
Local Appealers and Democratic Activists Were Arrested or Monitored
There were many reported cases of democratic activists or dissidents being arrested or monitored such as Liu Xiaobo, Qi Zhiyong, Hu Jia, Ni Yulan. Besides those cases, many local appealers were also monitored, including, Wang Xuexin, Tang Shenggui, Gao Yuqing, Wang Jianping, Zhang Shuying, Li Shuxia, Chang Cheng, Zhou Zhengyan, Ma Jingxue, Fang Guixiu and others.
Local apppealer Ni Yulan said that on November 17, because she went out to buy some clothes for her kids, the local police beat her and detained her for thirty hours. She was often thrown to the cold ground that had been purposely sprayed with water during that time. The police and security persons pinched her and pushed her to make her fall hard to the ground. The injuries left bruises all over her body. This was despite her wearing thick winter clothes. The police only gave her one lunch box after she had been starved for two days, and she was transferred from the local police station to a hotel for further detention after continuous questioning from the overseas media. Ni also said that all the dissidents, democratic activists and appealers were under surveillance.
An insider told a reporter that the local police were very nervous when they lost track of a human rights activist, Ye Guoqiang, and became very relieved when they found Ye again.
Tight Route Control for Bush's Car Fleet
On November 20, there was a full complement of police in front of Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, on Bush's car fleet route. There were around two hundreds policemen with sixty police vehicles. The security line were set up thirty meters away from the road in front of the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. Nobody could walk into the security zone, even rural construction workers who were digging trenches for laying electrical cables.
Bush's fleet of about 20 vehicles with over dozen police vehicles in front and behind entered the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse around 1:00 pm. Then the security tension slightly loosened.
Appealer Mrs. Li Guirong was driven out of the security zone. She said the security was so tight that the average person had no chance to get closer. Many Beijing local residents questioned why Beijing arranged such overly tight security when Bush visited Beijing.