News / Asia

Lawyer Barred From Visiting Detained Activist in China

Legal scholar Xu Zhiyong, center, is seen with Chinese lawyers after a meeting in a restaurant in Beijing, China. (2009 File)
Legal scholar Xu Zhiyong, center, is seen with Chinese lawyers after a meeting in a restaurant in Beijing, China. (2009 File)
VOA News
Beijing authorities barred jailed activist Xu Zhiyong from meeting with his lawyer Thursday, in what his supporters say is an escalation of an ongoing crackdown against civic organizers across China.
Attorney Liu Weiguo arrived Thursday morning at the Number Three Detention Center in Beijing, where Xu was detained on Tuesday, for the first visit to his client. He was asked to file a visitation request, which was turned down.
Instead of leaving, he decided to spend all day waiting.
“They told me he had been taken away, but I was there since the morning and didn’t see anybody coming in and out, nor did I see any policemen applying for permission to remove him,” he said.
Liu said some 20 friends and citizens who Xu helped in the past gathered at the facility to protest.
Assets disclosure campaign
Xu was formally detained July 16 by Beijing Municipal Public Security on charges of ‘gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place.’
Lawyer Liu rejects the charge and blames the authorities for acting illegally.
“He was at home and forbidden to go out for at least 70 days. How could he possibly commit a crime if he has no freedom?” he asked.
Teng Biao, friend and fellow activist lawyer, said Xu had been under house arrest since mid-April, and had a feeling something was about to happen.
“Many citizens who were asking for assets disclosure have been put under arrest since the end of March, more than 10 people, so we had a premonition that Xu Zhiyong would end up like this,” he said.
Xu started a social initiative called New Citizen Movement last year. The group, which seeks to promote legal reforms and asks for government officials to publicly disclose their financial assets, gathered thousands of signatures to their petition and staged demonstrations in several cities.
Earlier this year, though, authorities began to crack down. Activists’ homes have been raided by the police and more than 40 people across China have been put in jail, according to Teng.
Tightening grip on activists
As one of the most prominent anti-corruption activists, Xu’s lawyer says his client is seen by his opponents as someone working to subvert the state, instead of improve it.
Activist Teng agrees. “Authorities don’t accept that they advocate for citizen rights in this way, with their power of assembly and expression. They think they must repress them.”
While activists say they expect the current crackdown on their campaign will continue in the near future, the issue is not going to fade from public consciousness in China.
“The authorities’ behavior can’t disrupt the demand from the bottom for basic civic rights,” said Teng.

You May Like

Nearly Every Job in America Mapped in Detail

A nifty map pinpoints practically every job in the United States, revealing the economic character of America’s metropolitan areas, which also helps to inform the local culture

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video In Cambodian Capital, Political Motives Seen Behind Canceled Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle reports from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs