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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid