Xu Zhiyong Criminally Detained, Home Searched

Published: July 16, 2013

According to our sources, Xu Zhiyong (许志永), one of China’s best known dissidents and activists, has been criminally detained on Tuesday, July 16. Per an earlier report by weiquanwang (维权网) and information circulated on Twitter,  Dr. Xu was taken away from his Beijing home Tuesday afternoon, and his computers and cellphones were seized.

Xu Zhiyong (许志永)

Xu Zhiyong (许志永)

Dr. Xu is one of the founders of Gong Meng (公盟), or the Open Constitution Initiative, and a lecturer at Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications. In the last couple of years, he has been tirelessly advocating civil action such as same-city citizen dinner gatherings, equal education rights, and what is more generally known as the new citizens’ movement.

According to the Notice of Detention, Dr. Xu was detained for allegedly “gathering crowds to disrupt order in public venues.”

In addition, Song Ze (宋泽) has been disappeared since the night of July 12, and no relatives and friends have been able to get in touch with him. He is a volunteer with Gong Meng, and for much of 2012, he had been “residing under surveillance (监视居住).”  Because another two activists associated with Gong Meng, Li Huanjun (李焕君) and Li Gang (李刚), were criminally detained also on the evening of July 12, it is believed that Song Ze was also detained.

Detention notice for Dr. Xu.

Detention notice for Dr. Xu.

The detention of Dr. Xu’s and three others are believed to be part of the crackdown on civic actions that is on the rise in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities. In April, Beijing police detained 10 citizens for publicly demanding asset disclosure by government officials. In May, the government announced the formal arrest of the ten on trumped up charges such as “illegal assembly” (非法集会), “provoking disturbances” (寻衅滋事), “gathering to disrupt social order” (聚众扰乱社会秩序), “inciting to subvert state power”(煽动颠覆国家政权) and more. One of the ten, Qi Yueying, a native Beijinger whose house was demolished in a grotesquely unfair compensation deal, was charged with “extortion.”

Dr. Xu has been under house arrest since April 12.

Guo Yushan (郭玉闪)

Guo Yushan (郭玉闪)

We also learned on Twitter that Guo Yushan (郭玉闪), founder of the Transition Institute (传知行研究所) and the man who picked up Chen Guangcheng, after the latter escaped, and sent him to the safety of the US Embassy in Beijing, has also been under house arrest for two weeks. It might have to do with his organizing the “Meal Delivery” activities on Weibo (送饭活动) that raise money for political prisoners and civil activists or their families who face extreme financial difficulty and need urgent relief.

Since Xi Jinping took power, close to 80 citizens have been detained or arrested for activities ranging from dinner gatherings to displaying banners in the streets to June 4th-related activities. Given the moderate nature of these acts, it is clear that the authorities are becoming extremely intolerant of anything they perceive as threatening, especially when the activities show any form of “organization.”

10 responses to “Xu Zhiyong Criminally Detained, Home Searched”

  1. […] Xu Zhiyong Criminally Detained, Home Searched – China Change […]

  2. […] Xu has been under house arrest since April 12, soon after he wrote an open letter calling for the release of activists who demanded that officials disclose their financial assets. China Change translated accounts of Xu’s detention: […]

  3. Yaxue Cao says:

    New York Times, reporting Dr. Xu Zhiyong’s detention, made a link to our translation of Dr. Xu’s “The Last Ten Years” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/18/world/asia/china-detains-a-leading-human-rights-advocate.html?_r=0

  4. […] at least Huang Wenxun was subjected to electric shock and beating. In Beijing, sixteen, including Xu Zhiyong (许志永) the founder of Gongmeng, have been taken into custody since the end of March for displaying signs […]

  5. […] Xu Zhiyong Criminally Detained, Home Searched (chinachange.org) […]

  6. […] been dealing with this matter by arresting the most active critics, such as civil rights activist Dr. Xu Zhiyong, and the famous investor Wang Gongquan Meanwhile, they provide the public with feeble excuses, such […]

  7. […] movement achieved limited success in provincial cities throughout China, but Xu Zhiyong was arrested in July 2013 and sentenced the following January to four years in prison for the crime of […]

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