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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid