China authorities detain anti-corruption activist Xu Zhiyong

[JURIST] Chinese activist and lawyer Xu Zhiyong was arrested by Chinese authorities on Wednesday on suspicion of having "gathered crowds to disrupt public order." Xu, a law lecturer at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications [academic website] and founder of the Open Constitution Initiative (Gongmeng) [Economist report], was placed under house arrest [AP report] on April 12. Xu's arrest come after Chinese President Xi Jinping [NYT profile] pledged to increase efforts to combat government corruption. Xu was previously detained [HRW report] by Chinese police in 2009 on charges of tax evasion. Coinciding with Xu's arrest, earlier this week Wang Wenzhi, a reporter for the official Xinhua News Agency [official website], accused China Resources (Holdings) chairman Song Lin of corruption. The post was later removed.

The detainment of Chinese activists has been a recurrent human rights issue in China, along with accusations of corruption within the Chinese government. Last month a Chinese court in Huairou on sentenced [JURIST report] Liu Hui, brother-in-law of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], to 11 years in prison on charges of fraud. In May China's Nanjing Intermediate People's Court issued a life sentence to Huang Sheng, the former provincial deputy governor of Shandong Province, for accepting almost $2 million in bribes from 21 organizations and numerous individuals between 1998 and 2011.

 

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