08/01/2013, 00.00
CHINA
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More than 30 activists arrested for demanding transparency from China's Communist leaders

The protesters wanted the authorities to release the net worth and business interests of top officials. Arrested by police, some have been kept in jail pending indictment beyond the legal limit. This is occurring despite Xi Jinping's 'moralising' campaign against Communist Party officials.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Chinese police arrested a group of more than 30 pro-democracy activists in May and June. The latter had petitioned the authorities to have top Chinese officials disclose their wealth and assets.

According to the Chinese Human Rights Defender, a group that monitors the situation of human rights in China, one of those arrested has been kept in prison beyond the legal limit.

The first arrests took place on 17 and 18 May, when the International Garden Expo opened in Beijing. The activists were accused of " gathering a crowd to disrupt social order" and similar offenses ", charges that are often used to detain those who ask for justice.

Many petitioners were released on bail within 37 days-the legal time limit for criminal detention without the approval of an arrest warrant-but some have remained behind bars on criminal charges.

Zhao Guangjun, Zhu Pingping and Lu Dongli were among the activists jailed. The first two were released on bail a few days ago, whilst the third is still held in the Fengtai District Detention Centre where he is on hunger strike. Zhenjia Zhao, who was arrested on 9 June, is in the same prison.

Xu Nailai and He Bin were arrested on 27 May and are being held in the Chaoyang Centre on charges of "creating a disturbance"; Zhang Fuying, detained on 13 June, is in Beijing No. 1 Detention Centre.

The leaders of the Communist Party of China have been hit by a series of scandals in recent months related to private interests and revenues obtained thanks to their public office. Former Premier Wen Jiabao and current President Xi Jinping are among them.

Even so, Xi has embarked on a moralising campaign to induce top party officials to lead a less ostentatious lifestyle without, however, imposing transparency upon them in terms of releasing information about their private assets and business interests.

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