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Chinese Pro-Democracy Leader Arrested

Francesco Fiorucci
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“I am pessimistic that Xu will get a fair trial or a second meeting with his lawyer, or if the authorities will allow the lawyer to read the relevant documents to prepare for the trial,” said Doriane Lau, Chinese human rights activist

A human rights group today expressed fears for Dr Xu Zhiyong, founder of China’s pro-democracy New Citizen Movement, who was arrested on July 17.

His arrest, on a charge of disturbing public order, comes after three months illegal detention in his home. He was permitted to meet his lawyer in prison today and an associate reports that the meeting took place without interference. Xu made no complaint about his treatment so far.

But Doriane Lau, director of the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Concern Group, told ucanews.com: “I am pessimistic that Xu will get a fair trial or a second meeting with his lawyer, or if the authorities will allow the lawyer to read the relevant documents to prepare for the trial.

“His arrest has the obvious political intention to suppress the New Citizen Movement.”

Founded in 2012, the New Citizen Movement works toward building a democratic society in China. It also calls for press freedom and the lifting of internet censorship.

Xu aroused the anger of state officials in November with an open letter to President Xi Jinping, criticizing the government’s policy of using suppression as the main instrument for maintaining social stability.

Xu’s arrest has drawn expressions of concern from the US and German governments and since the weekend, more than 450 leading Chinese intellectuals have signed a petition, demanding the release of Xu and 16 other members of the New Citizen Movement.

“If we don’t have the heart for social responsibility and justice, we cannot change this society,” said one of the signatories.

Originally published by UCAnews on July 25th, 2013.

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