World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


China: Hypocritical crackdown on anti-corruption campaigners

21 January 2014

The Chinese authorities must immediately release prominent activist Xu Zhiyong, whose trial is due to start in Beijing on Wednesday, Amnesty International said.

Xu Zhiyong wrote an article in May 2012, titled China Needs a New Citizens’ Movement, which is credited with spurring a loose network of activists who aim to promote government transparency and expose corruption.

Several other activists are also due to be tried later this week in connection with the New Citizens Movement.

“Instead of President Xi Jinping’s promised clamp-down on corruption, we are seeing a crackdown against those that want to expose it. The persecution of activists associated with the New Citizens Movement has to end,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

A highly regarded legal scholar, Xu Zhiyong has been detained in Beijing since July. He faces charges of “gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place.” He faces up to five years in jail if convicted.

“We consider Xu Zhiyong to be a prisoner of conscience and he should be released immediately and unconditionally. Anything less would make a mockery of the Chinese government’s ongoing anti-corruption efforts,” said Rife.

Dozens of people linked to the New Citizens Movement – however tenuously – have been detained over the past year. Several of these activists have already been prosecuted simply for exercising their rights to assembly and free speech.

At a pre-trial hearing last Friday, a judge rejected a request from Xu Zhiyong’s lawyer for his case to be tried alongside other defendants that have been jointly charged for their activities linked to the New Citizens Movement. Xu Zhiyong has said he will remain silent in court in protest of the decision.

A further five activists are due to stand trial in Beijing later this week. Zhao Changqing and Hou Xin, are due to stand trial on Thursday. The trials of Ding Jiaxi and Li Wei, and Yuan Dong and Zhang Baocheng are expected to start on Friday.

“By denying a collective trial the judge is preventing the full-truth from being heard. It is yet another example of the injustice these activists face,” said Rife.

Three other activists - Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping and Li Sihua – were put on trial in December 2013 in Jiangxi Province in southern China. Zhang Lin, a veteran activist, stood trial on 18 December. The verdict in these cases is still to be announced.

Background

According to the organization Chinese Human Rights Defenders more than 65 people who are allegedly connected with the “New Citizens’ Movement” have been criminally detained or subjected to enforced disappearance as of early December. Thirty-seven have been formally arrested.

Xu Zhiyong has described the “New Citizens’ Movement” as a peaceful cultural, social and political campaign.

Suggested activities for “New Citizens” include; practicing “New Citizen Responsibility” by rejecting corruption and by doing good for society; participating in civic life by holding meetings to discuss the political situation; helping the weak; and uniting to share and coordinate work.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Bangkok: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphophia

BMA, UN, embassy representatives, civil society and artists stand united with LGBTI Thais on International Day against Transphobia, Homophobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre More>>

Displaced Iraqis Face Difficulties As Fighting Continues

UNHCR is concerned about the processing arrangements in place at the Bzabz bridge – a series of pontoons across the Euphrates River which marks the boundary between Anbar province and the capital, Baghdad. Photo: UNHCR/G. Ohara More>>

UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing Of Bangladeshi Blogger

Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz The head of the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom worldwide today voiced ... More>>

Philadelphia: Train Crash

Five people have been confirmed dead and more than 136 people injured after an Amtrak train crashed in Philadelphia today at 9.20pm local time.More>>

UN News: Alarming Surge In Bay Of Bengal Crossings

The number of irregular migrants crossing the Bay of Bengal has almost doubled over the past year amid a dangerous uptick in human smuggling and trafficking across the region, according to a new report from the United Nations refugee agency. More>>


Pacific: 5 West Papuan Prisoners Granted Clemency/media Bans Lifted

5 West Papuan prisoners granted clemency/media bans lifted for foreign journalists wanting to visit West Papua. More>>

UN Deplores Deadly Attack On ‘blue Helmets’ In DR Congo

Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of Congo (in suit) tells Tanzanian peacekeepers he strongly admires them despite the tragic loss of 2 comrades as they continue to actively protect the population. ... More>>

ALSO:

Liberia On The Way To Being Declared ‘Ebola Free'

Karin Landgren, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia and Head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), briefs the Security Council. UN Photo/Mark Garten More>>

ALSO:

UN Labour Agency Set To Ramp Up Operations In Nepal

A man in Goddamchour Lalitpur trying to clear debris from the first floor of his house, as communities look for ways to start rebuilding their lives after the powerful earthquake devastated Nepal. Photo: UNDP Nepal/Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news