03/25/2016, 09.43
CHINA
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20 arrested over letter asking for resignation of "Comrade Xi Jinping"

According to local sources, the authorities detained for "questioning" several journalists of the para-state Wujie News site, where a text calling for the president to resign was published. Reporter Jia Jia, the first to be arrested, less involved.

 

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Chinese authorities have arrested 19 other people on charges of having participated in the publication of the open letter calling on President Xi Jinping to resign. The total number of detentions now stands at 20: Jia Jia the reporter, the first to be detained, appears less and less involved in the matter and his release is expected.

The text seems to be part of an internal Communist Party power struggle. Signed by the "loyal members" of the CCP, it asks the supreme leader to resign given the "huge mistakes" he has made "in every sphere". In addition, a veiled threat is visible reading between the lines: "We ask this for the sake of the Party, peace and long-term stability of the nation and for your personal safety and that of your family".

The open letter was posted, even if for a short time, on Wujie News [click here for the text]: it is a para-state newspaper usually aligned to the leadership positions. At first, security officials arrested Jia Jia, a well-known Chinese columnist. Several witnesses, however, said that he has nothing to do with the letter: He merely called the newspaper director to ask about the issue after reading the online text.

An anonymous internal source has told the BBC that 16 other people were "taken away”.  These include six journalists who work directly for Wujie, including a senior editor, and 10 employees of the IT company linked to it. In addition, a dissident who now lives in the United States asserts that three members of his family - residents in the southern province of Guangdong - were arrested on suspicion of being involved.

The story confirms the increased censorship of press ordered by the Communist Party and its internal instability. The central government seems determined to silence any critical voice, to the point of making Hong Kong book sellers "disappear" taking them from the Territory (formally independent of the Chinese judiciary). But the cases of expulsion of foreign journalists have multiplied as have “vendettas" against misaligned newspapers. According to the great dissident Wei Jingsheng, China is experiencing a "Maoist revival" in an attempt to hide its leaders failures.

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