By Xu Zhiyong, Xiao Shu, Teng Biao, et al.
April 18, 2013
As of noon today (April 18, Beijing Time), at least seven citizens in Beijing have been criminally detained for demanding asset disclosure by government officials. Around noon today, the family of Mr. Zhao Changqing (赵常青) received a notice that he had been criminally detained. Around eight o’clock last night, lawyer Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) was taken away for a criminal summons on allegations of “illegal gathering.” Also last night, Mr. Sun Hanhui (孙含会) was criminally detained. And before him, on the evening of April 15, Mr. Wang Yonghong (王永红) was criminally detained, both on allegations of “illegal gathering.”
Earlier on March 31, four citizens—Yuan Dong (袁冬), Zhang Baocheng (张宝成), Hou Xin (侯欣) and Ma Xinli (马新立) –were criminally detained after displaying a banner in Xidan (西单, downtown Beijing about two miles west of the Tian’anmen Square) calling for officials to disclose their assets.
On December 9, 2012, Sun Hanhui, Ding Jiaxi and dozens of other citizens initiated the campaign to call for China’s 205 top officials to disclose their assets, and the campaign has since collected over 7,000 signatures that, along with a written proposal, were submitted to the National People’s Congress during the Two Sessions in March. Carried out by the Public Transportation Security Bureau of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, this wave of detentions appears to be targeting the four citizens who demonstrated in Xidan.
The public is indignant about the gross and epidemic corruption in China. The central government has vowed repeatedly to rein it in, but has not taken effective measures to do so. It is completely legitimate for citizens to call for disclosure of officials’ assets, and citizens have the freedom of expression, guaranteed by the Constitution, to voice their demands by displaying banners. The government has promised asset disclosure for over 30 years. While they have not made good on their words, they are now trying to charge citizens who push for it. How is it a crime for citizens to fight corruption?
In most of the democratic countries with rule of law, it has long been a norm for government officials to declare their assets. But in China, citizens, like Yuan Dong, Ding Jiaxi, Sun Hanhui, Wang Yonghong, Zhao Changqing, are being detained for demanding it. Is this what the so-called “China Dream” is all about?
State power cannot deprive citizens of their right of free expression granted by Article 35 of the Constitution. We resolutely demand the immediate release of Yuan Dong, Ma Xinli, Zhang Baocheng, Wang Yonghong, Li Wei, Sun Hanhui, Ding Jiaxi, and Zhao Changqing, the seven citizens (Hou Xin is out on bail due to a heart condition) who have participated in calling for Chinese government officials to disclose their assets.
Please join us to sign the appeal by sending your name, profession and city of residence to the asset disclosure campaign mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org.
Xu Zhiyong 许志永, Doctor of Law, Beijing
Xiao Shu 笑蜀, journalist, Guangzhou
Wang Gongquan 王功权, entrepreneur, Beijing
Teng Biao 滕彪, Doctor of Law, Beijing
Liu Weiguo 刘卫国, lawyer, Jinan
Fu Yonggang 付永刚, lawyer, Jinan
Zhao Yonglin 赵永林, lawyer, Tai’an
Zhou Xingyuan 周兴远 , lawyer, Shanxi
Guo Lianhui 郭莲辉, lawyer, Jiangxi
Liang Xiaojun 梁小军, lawyer, Beijing
Li Xiongbing 黎雄兵, lawyer, Beijing
Ai Xiaoming 艾晓明, scholar, Guangzhou
Hu Jia 胡佳, citizen, Beijing
The Chinese original is being circulated widely on Weibo and Twitter. Here is the link to the version Yaxue published via google docs.