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07GUANGZHOU147 2007-02-02 08:16:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Guangzhou
Cable title:  

Nanning Activist Flees to Burma, Appears Safe for

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1. (U) Classified by Consular Chief William Martin.
Reason 1.4 (d).

2. (C) On January 29, Nanning-based activist Li Xiaolong
called Congenoff. Li, formerly of the Beijing group
Empowerment and Rights Institute (reftel), said he had
illegally crossed into Northeastern Burma, though the exact
reasons for his flight from China are not entirely clear.
In the weeks prior to the call, Li and others had been
doing research in Yunnan province (bordering Burma) about
human rights cases. During the call, Li said that he
wanted to speak with a USG official in Burma about
important information regarding the well-known Chinese
dissident, Dr. Wang Bingzhang, who has been imprisoned in
Shaoguan, Guangdong, since 2002. Congenoff suggested that
if Li wanted to meet USG officials, his best option was to
travel to Rangoon. Li said this would be difficult because
he did not have proper documents. On January 31, Li wrote
Congenoff an email that the Chinese government had become
aware of his activities and that he wanted USG help to move
to a "different location."

3. (C) On February 1, Congenoff contacted Embassy Rangoon
about the situation and learned the Embassy had a Chinese-
speaking officer who could meet with Li, but might attract
Burmese surveillance unless the meeting took place in
Mandalay (which has a large Chinese expat community) or
Rangoon. After consulting with Embassy Beijing about the
risks of surveillance from both Chinese and Burmese
authorities, Congenoff asked Embassy Rangoon to instruct Li
that if he felt his life was in danger and wanted to seek
refugee status, he should travel to the UNHCR headquarters
in Bangkok, Thailand. On the afternoon of February 1, a
Chinese-speaking Emboff contacted Li on his cellphone and
passed on the recommendation. However, Li said he felt
safe in his current location and did not need to travel to
Thailand. Rangoon Emboff did not arrange a meeting, but
left a phone number for Li to contact him.

4. (U) Embassies Beijing, Bangkok, and Rangoon have
cleared on this cable.