News / Asia

Eight Anti-Corruption Activists Detained in China

William Ide
Chinese authorities have detained eight anti-corruption activists over their participation in a signature drive that calls on central government officials to disclose their assets.  Although there is widespread public support for officials to disclose such information, government efforts to promote the policy appear to be slowing.

Rights lawyers in Beijing say the activists have been taken into custody in recent days on suspicion of unlawful assembly.

Authorities have confiscated their laptop computers, video cameras, mobile phones and other items.

Ding Jiaxi, a prominent human rights lawyer, was detained late Wednesday evening, says fellow rights lawyer Li Fangping.

“Last night [Thursday] around 7:00 p.m., his family received official notice from the police in Beijing, that he is now under administrative detention,” he said.

Ding and other activists, all members of the New Citizens Movement are being held at a detention center in Beijing. Li says one activist is receiving medical treatment. Authorities at the detention center were not able to be reached for comment

Li says the activists have been charged because of their participation in a street campaign calling on officials to disclose their assets.

“It's hard to say what is going to happen. Administrative detention can be expanded up to 37 days,” he said. “Then there will be an investigation and then a trial. How long this all will take depends on how important they consider the case to be.”

Xu Zhiyong, another prominent rights lawyer in China, is founder of the New Citizens Movement - a group that seeks to promote social justice, political and legal reforms. He is being held under what he called “illegal house arrest” and spoke to VOA by phone Friday.

“Up until yesterday, eight people who advocate asset disclosure by officials have been detained,” he said. “They have been accused of illegal gathering, but we believe this is illegal, because citizens have the right to assemble and demonstrate freely.”

Xu says other activists have also been harassed. He says this will not keep them from making their demands, which he calls completely normal.

“It is the trend of the times and civilized government all require assets disclosure,” he said. “In China it's a secret and they don't let citizens be informed, this is not normal at all.”

More than 7,000 Chinese activists, scholars, lawyers and businessmen have signed the petition that was launched late last year.  Shortly after Xi Jinping began his transition to power, there was a resurgence of calls for officials to disclose their assets.

President Xi pledged to go after corrupt officials, no matter how high- or low-ranking they are.  Many see asset disclosure as a way of helping stem the problem of official graft.

Three districts in the southern province of Guangdong were supposed to begin requiring officials to disclose their assets last month, but that program appears to now be on hold.

Ni Xing, a professor at Sun Yat-sen University in the southern city of Guangzhou says that although there was talk of beginning assets disclosure programs last month, all has gone quiet.

Ni says that even Guangzhou was proposing a few weeks ago that it would randomly select 15 percent of its officials to have their assets disclosed. But lately, there has been little mention of the topic of assets disclosure.

“I think that the Communist Party want to keep this fight against corruption within the system. It asks the system to be efficient but it doesn't want to be exposed to the public and to be under pressure from the public to reform,” he said.

The Communist Party says its fight against corruption is a life or death struggle, but it does not like giving the public too much say in that process and stresses that the power to fight corruption has to be in its own hands.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Johnny from: Taiwan
April 19, 2013 2:32 PM
The Communist Party says its fight against corruption is a life or death struggle....

Sort of like being a heroin addict.... Its a life or death struggle as long as the people dont see you have a problem and report you to police and you are forced to get clean. Therefore A heroin addict saying only he can clean up his act is exactly the same as the communist Chinese saying only they alone, can dig deep and harness the power of self discipline and come clean.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs