Activist uses Web to monitor Beijing

Lu Siqing is one part activist, one part web geek, and one part secret agent. According to the BALTIMORE SUN, Lu runs the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, a one-man operation that monitors the Chinese government’s human-rights abuses.

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For a staff of one, the ICHRD does a lot. Last year, major newspapers and wire services cited the Hong Kong-based center nearly 800 times, on issues that ranged from the government’s treatment of Falun Gong members to the country’s rising unemployment rate. Despite Bejing’s efforts to censor it, Lu’s web site,, gets 20,000 to 30,000 hits a day.

Using a pager and a cellular phone with a phone number that changes regularly, Lu keeps in contact with activists in mainland China. Lu’s tactics are a little controversial — recently he impersonated a concerned relative in order to get information from a hospital after factory workers clashed with local police — but journalists who use the ICHRD’s reports say that he’s a reliable source.