China arrests citizens’ rights activist

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Originally published in the BusinessGhana on July 18, 2013

China has arrested a leading human rights lawyer and citizens’ rights advocate, in what appears to be part of a crackdown on the so-called “New Citizens’ Movement,” rights groups and supporters said on Wednesday.

Police detained Xu Zhiyong at his Beijing home late on Tuesday on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place,” according to a copy of the detention notice posted online.

The police took away Xu’s computers, mobile phone and other items.

The notice gave no details of Xu’s alleged crimes, but some activists said his detention could be partly linked to his support for a recent protest movement demanding disclosure of officials’ assets.

Xu, 40, reported in late June that police had held him under house arrest since April 12.

He signed an open letter in April calling for the release of several activists who were detained for publicly urging the government to order all officials to disclose their assets.

Xu is the latest of at least 24 activists detained since late March in a crackdown that the Hong Kong-based said China Human Rights Defenders targeted a loose grouping of activists involved in what has become known as the “New Citizens’ Movement.”

Xu published an online essay, “China needs a New Citizens’ Movement,” in May 2012.

Source: GNA

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