The lawyer Xu Zhiyong disappeared in Beijing one week ago, but now his image is popping up all over town. Xu, who was taken from his house by police, is featured in the latest edition of Shishang Xiansheng, the Chinese version of Esquire. He is one of 60 people interviewed by the magazine in recent months about their idea of the Chinese dream. The police haven’t explained the charges against Xu, but his brother told the Associated Press that officials at the university where Xu taught said he was being held for tax evasion. The Open Constitution Initiative (or Gongmeng in Chinese), a legal advocacy group that Xu founded, was shuttered by tax authorities last month over allegations it owes $208,000 in taxes. Many observers think the closure is more likely related to Gongmeng’s pioneering work on sensitive legal cases.
In the Esquire piece Xu is pictured with a white light behind his head and wearing a French-cuffed shirt and tie–not, by any means, his usual attire. He is featured with six other activists. Here, via China Digital Times, is a translation of his Chinese dream:
I wish our country could be a free and happy one. Every citizen does not need go against their conscience and can find their own place by their virtue and talents; a simple and happy society, where the goodness of humanity is expanded to the maximum, and the evilness of humanity is constrained to the maximum; honesty, trust, kindness, and helping each other are everyday occurences in life; there is not so much anger and anxiety, a pure smile on everyone’s face.