Xu Zhiyong (许志永)

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Xu Zhiyong (许志永)

Xu Zhiyong Ÿ 志永


Xu zhiyong

Crime: Gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place

Length of Punishment: Four years

Court: Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court

Trial Date: January 22, 2014

Sentencing Date: January 26, 2014

Dates of Detention/Arrest: July 16, 2013 (detained); August 22, 2013 (arrested); July 15, 2017 (released)

Place of Incarceration: Qinghe Farm Kenhua Prison (Haidian District, Beijing Municipality)

Verdict: Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate Court Criminal Verdict (English)

Appeal Hearing Date: April 11, 2014

Appeal Hearing Court: Beijing Municipal High People’s Court

Appeal Hearing Ruling: Upheld original ruling

Defence Complaint to Appeals Court (In Chinese)

Xu Zhiyong Appeal Defence Opinion (In Chinese)


Xu Zhiyong (许志永), a prominent Beijing professor and rights activist, had his home searched and personal properties confiscated by police before he was taken away in July 2013. Before that, Beijing police had subjected Xu to unlawful house arrest for over four months. One of his lawyers has consistently been denied access to visit Xu and was reportedly beaten. Xu Zhiyong appealed, and a second instance trial was held on April 11, 2014 at Beijing Municipality High People’s Court. The court upheld the original verdict. Xu served out his entire sentence before being released in July 2017.

Born in 1973, Xu founded the “Open Constitution Initiative” (Gongmeng, 公盟), a pro-democracy movement which later spawned the “New Citizen’s Movement,” a loose grouping of human rights defenders advocating for democratic and rule-of-law reforms, constitutionalism, human rights, and social justice. Many members of the movement and associates of Xu have been detained in the crackdown against free assembly, association, and expression that has taken place in China since the spring of 2013. Since starting his rights activism in 2003, Xu has promoted non-violence, defended individuals unjustly sentenced to death, drafted legal reforms, and provided legal consultation and other forms of assistance to homeless petitioners. For his many efforts in rights defense, Xu has been beaten, threatened, and arbitrarily detained by authorities.

Further Information

New Citizens’ Movement website (in Chinese) – 新公民远东网站

Travesty of Justice – Beijing’s Show Trials of Civil Society Leaders Xu Zhiyong, Zhao Changqing, & Others, January 23, 2014, CHRD

What’s Behind the New Chinese Crackdown?, July 29, 2013, The New York Review of Books

Individuals Detained in the Crackdown on Peaceful Assembly, Association & Expression, July 17, 2013, CHRD 

China: End Escalating Crackdown Criminalizing Peaceful Assembly and Free Expression, July 17, 2013, CHRD

Police Seize Lawyer After Blocking Visit to Detained Activist Xu Zhiyong, July 19, 2013, CHRD

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