Individuals Detained in Crackdown on Peaceful Assembly, Free Expression
Updated: July 17, 2013
Since late March of 2013, Chinese police have taken into custody activists, lawyers, and other citizens in a crackdown triggered by an advocacy campaign waged against official corruption and other politically sensitive issues. As of July 17, 2013, a total of 24 individuals tied to the drive are known to have been criminally detained in Beijing and the provinces of Jiangxi and Hubei. Among those detained to date, 15 are known to have been formally arrested and five have been released, including three on “bail awaiting trial.” Those currently not in custody are still under tight surveillance. (See table below for detention details.)
In Beijing, police have seized activists who organized a campaign demanding that more than 200 high-ranking Communist Party officials, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, publicly disclose their financial wealth. Activists in Xinyu City, Jiangxi joined the anti-corruption campaign while also calling for the government to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China signed in 1998.
The activists detained in Hubei had appealed for the release of those in Beijing and Jiangxi and also promoted the ICCPR. The city where they were seized, Chibi, was the tenth stop on a nationwide “advocacy trip” that began on April 8. Activists on the trip had staged rallies, made public speeches, and met with fellow activists, with the stated goals of encouraging citizen activism and spreading ideas of democracy and rule of law.
The detainees are believed to be part of (or inspired by) the “New Citizens Movement,” a loose network of activists who have peacefully promoted social justice and political and legal reforms. The movement has been spearheaded by the professor and activist Xu Zhiyong (许志勇), who founded the now-banned Open Constitution Initiative (公盟) and has himself been detained in the current crackdown.
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