Chinese Transparency Activist Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

In a closed trial, Xu Zhiyong, a Chinese scholar whose activism focused on upholding rule of law in China, was sentenced to four years in jail

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Greg Baker / AP

Xu Zhiyong in Beijing, in 2009.

Xu Zhiyong is a lawyer. He founded a legal research group called the Open Constitution Initiative. He investigated the tainted-milk scandal, fought for the rights of migrant children, and spoke out against corruption. In a system awash with injustice, he believed in the law.

But the law turned on Xu. On Sunday, Xu Zhiyong was convicted of “assembling a crowd to disrupt public order” and sentenced to four years in jail. As he was led away from the courtroom, he denounced the trial, his lawyers later told journalists. “The court today has completely destroyed what remained of respect for rule of law in China,” Xu said.

He may be right. Xu’s arrest, trial and conviction does not bode well for China’s courts, or its government. He is the most high-profile activist to stand trial since the country’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition in late 2012. Some thought Xi Jinping, China’s current President and secretary of the ruling Communist Party, would prove a great reformer, making way for men like Xu. His sentence is the latest sign that those hopes were misplaced.

Far from a subversive dissident, Xu’s goals were in line with what China’s rulers say they want—cleaner and more lawful governance. Since coming to power, Xi has adopted the “Chinese Dream” as his signature slogan, vowing to push for the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” In his first speech as China’s top leader, he vowed to tackle graft and restore faith in government.

Xu shares that dream. Years ago, the young lawyer was featured in a ‘Chinese dream’-themed magazine spread, expressing his wish that China be “happy” and “free.” His conviction on Sunday stems from his leadership of the New Citizens Movement, a network of lawyers, activists and ordinary people fighting for government transparency.

But even as the Party fills the pages of state-backed papers with reports of anti-graft campaigns and party purges, it silences similar calls from the outside. Three members of Xu’s New Citizens Movement — Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping and Li Sihua — are being tried for posting a picture of themselves holding a banner calling for Chinese officials to disclose their assets. Their trial, like Xu’s, was held behind closed doors.

The prosecution of Xu and his supporters is part of a broader crackdown on critical voices under China’s new regime. Over the last year, authorities have rounded up bloggers and businessmen for speaking out on microblogs and implemented new rules governing online speech. Last week, police in Beijing detained Ilham Tohti, an ethnic Uighur scholar, on charges of separatism. He has yet to be formally charged.

The arrests send a clear message that the “game has not changed,” says Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. And as Xi consolidates power, he doesn’t want to show weakness. “It doesn’t cost him much to give them Xu’s head, or Tohti’s head,” says Bequelin. “His cold calculus is that he has to be hard line.”

And that, of course, is where Xi and Xu’s Chinese dreams diverge. In a closing statement read by his lawyer and translated by China Change, a website that tracks Chinese civil society and human rights news, Xu called for Chinese people to change their country through “small acts,” inspired by the principles of “freedom, justice and love”:

What the New Citizens Movement advocates is for each and every Chinese national to act and behave as a citizen, to accept our roles as citizens and masters of our country—and not to act as feudal subjects, remain complacent, accept mob rule or a position as an underclass. To take seriously the rights which come with citizenship, those written into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and China’s Constitution: to treat these sacred rights—to vote, to freedom of speech and religion—as more than an everlasting IOU.

He signed the letter “Citizen Xu Zhiyong.”

1 comments
DeanJackson
DeanJackson

The article reads, "Xu Zhiyong is a lawyer. He founded a legal research group called the Open Constitution Initiative." 


I have to laugh at the ignorance! For those too young to know any better, because school isn't what it used to be, every aspect of life in Communist nations is controlled, meaning so-called "activists" and "dissidents" are in reality government agents serving a strategic purpose for the government...


“Since at least the early 1970s, the Communist party of China has been poised to create a spectacular but controlled “democratization” at any appropriate time. The party had by then spent two decades consolidating its power, building a network of informants and agents that permeate every aspect of Chinese life, both in the cities and in the countryside. Government control is now so complete that it will not be seriously disturbed by free speech and democratic elections; power can now be exerted through the all-pervasive but largely invisible infrastructure of control. A transition to an apparently new system, using dialectical tactics, is now starting to occur.” -- Playing the China Card (The New American, Jan. 1, 1991).


That's why the "electorates" of Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine are only "electing" for their respective president Soviet era Communist Party member Quislings:


Presidents of Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine since the "collapse" of the USSR, and their political affiliation before the "collapse" (cut off date June 30, 2013):


Russia:


Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin – July 10, 1991 – December 31, 1999 – Communist.


Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – 31 December 1999 – 7 May 2000 (Acting) and May 7, 2000 – May 7, 2008 – Communist.


Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev – May 7, 2008 – May 7, 2012, during his studies at the University he joined the Communist Party.


Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – May 7, 2012 – Present, Communist.


Georgia:


Zviad Gamsakhurdia - April 14, 1991 – January 6, 1992, not Communist (dissident).


Eduard Shevardnadze - November 26, 1995 – November 23, 2003, 1948, Communist.


Nino Burjanadze - November 23, 2003 – January 25, 2004, Communist.


Mikheil Saakashvili - 25 January 2004 – 25 November 2007, Communist.


Nino Burjanadze - November 25, 2007 – January 20, 2008 (Acting), Communist.


Mikheil Saakashvili - January 20, 2008 – November 17, 2013, Communist.


Ukraine:


Leonid Makarovych Kravchuk, December 5, 1991 – July 19, 1994, joined Ukraine Communist Party in 1958.


Leonid Danylovych Kuchma, July 19, 1994 – January 23, 2005, Communist, 1960.


Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko, January 23, 2005 – February 25, 2010, Communist, 1980.


Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych, February 25, 2010 – Present, Communist, 1980.


As you can see, all were Soviet era Communist Party member Quislings, except for the first president of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, a dissident who didn't even last nine months in office before he was ousted in a coup, later said to have committed "suicide". Since when do those once freed from a repressive regime elect for president the same people who were party members in the previous regime? Zviad Gamsakhurdia was the one out of ten who was a genuine dissident, a useful idiot used by the Communists. 


For those unfamiliar with this subject, the "collapse" of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the “Long-Range Policy" (LRP). What is the LRP, you ask? The LRP is the "new" strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with. The last major disinformation operation under the LRP was the "collapse" of the USSR in 1991. 


The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government. When that occurs, Taiwan will be stymied from not joining the mainland. This is why China is buying up gold all over the word. It is believed that China currently has 3,000 [metric] tonnes of gold. When China has 6,000 [metric] tonnes it will have the minimum gold reserves necessary for its currency, the yuan, to replace the United States' dollar as the world's reserve currency, that is after the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government (the United States gold reserves is approximately 8,133.5 [metric] tonnes).


"Editor's Note: The phrases 'From the Atlantic to the Urals', 'From the Atlantic to Vladivostok' and 'From Vancouver to Vladivostok' are interchangeable in the strategists' lexicon. In the course of his Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, delivered in Oslo in June 1992, Gorbachev said: 'Our [sic] vision of the European space from the Atlantic to the Urals is not that of a closed system. Since it includes the Soviet Union [sic], which reaches to the shores of the Pacific, it goes beyond nominal geographical boundaries'. Note that Gorbachev, who had been out of office for six months, referred to the Soviet Union, not Russia. In an interview on Moscow Television on 19 November 1991, Eduard Shevardnadze continued speaking as though he was still Soviet Foreign Minister: 'I think that the idea of a Common European Home, the building of a united Europe, and I would like to underline today, of great Europe, the building of Great Europe, great, united Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals, from the Atlantic to Vladivostok, including all our territory, most probably a European-Asian space, this project is inevitable. I am sure that we will come to building a united military space as well. To say more precisely: we will build a united Europe, whose security will be based on the principles of collective security. Precisely, collective security'. These statements by key implementers of the strategy reflect the central strategic objective of asserting 'irreversible' Russian/Soviet hegemony over Eurasia, thus establishing the primary geographical component of the intended World Government." -- 'The Perestroika Deception', by KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn.

-- http://www.spiritoftruth.org/The_Perestroika_Deception.pdf



For more on the "Long-Range Policy", read KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn's books, "New Lies for Old" and “The Perestroika Deception” , the only Soviet era defector to still be under protective custody in the West:


https://archive.org/details/GolitsynAnatoleTheNewLiesForOldOnes


and


http://www.spiritoftruth.org/The_Perestroika_Deception.pdf


The following is an excellent brief three-page introduction to Golitsyn and his significance in understanding Communist long-range strategy:


http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/archived/looking.htm