News / Asia

Trials Continue for Chinese Anti-Corruption Activists

Policemen stand guard in front of a court where Chinese dissident  Zhao Changqing's trial is being held in Beijing, Jan. 23, 2014.
Policemen stand guard in front of a court where Chinese dissident Zhao Changqing's trial is being held in Beijing, Jan. 23, 2014.
VOA News
China is continuing the high-profile political trials of activists associated with the grassroots New Citizens Movement, which the government has cracked down on as part of its effort to crush its domestic critics.

Zhao Changqing and Hou Xin are set to stand trial Thursday in a Beijing court. They are charged with "disturbing public order" by organizing small groups that called for education equality and for officials to disclose their assets.

International observers, including several foreign diplomats, were barred from attending the hearings. Journalists were also kept away by police and plain-clothed officers, who have harassed those trying to broadcast near the proceedings.

Zhao's lawyer, Zhang Xuezhong, called the trial "fundamentally illegal," and said his client does not regret his advocacy work.

"He expressed that even after so many years of determined hard work, whether it's for the public disclosure of officials' assets or equal rights to education, and after already undergoing two criminal detentions, he regrets nothing," said Zhang.

On Wednesday, New Citizens Movement founder Xu Zhiyong refused to defend himself in court, staying silent in protest of what he considers an unfair trial.

The activists will almost certainly be found guilty, since China's state-controlled courts almost never rule in favor of the defendant, especially in politically-motivated cases. If convicted, they face up to five years in jail.

A total of seven New Citizens Movement members are standing trial this and next week. Three others were tried in December, though a verdict has not been delivered.

Although the group does support democracy and the rule of law, some of its ideals are at least similar to that of the stated goals of the Communist Party, which has also vowed to crack down on corruption.

Since coming to power last year, the party's chairman, President Xi Jinping, has launched an anti-graft campaign that has brought down several lower and mid-level officials accused of corruption.

However, Beijing has reacted angrily to the notion of a citizen-led anti-corruption campaign, arresting at least 20 people who made public calls for officials to publicly disclose their assets.

The U.S. State Department has criticized the crackdown, prompting an angry reaction from Beijing. On Tuesday, China's Foreign Ministry said foreign countries should not interfere with its internal issues.

The state-controlled Global Times on Thursday said Xu is not being tried for his opinions, but because he "probably advocated his political views by 'gathering crowds' which 'disrupted public order.'"

The paper, which often reflects official viewpoints, dismissed attempts to "tarnish" China's international image, saying Beijing will not let the West have a "dominant say in its own internal affairs."

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid