05/12/2020, 10.20
CHINA
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Shanghai, human rights lawyer Zhang Xuezhong freed

Arrested by the police for demanding political reform in a letter posted on WeChat. The academic upheld the coronavirus underscored inadequacies of the Chinese government system, denounced the crackdown on society, and called on the National People's Assembly to write a modern constitution.

Shanghai (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Constitutionalist and human rights lawyer Zhang Xuezhong was freed by the police yesterday evening and returned home. He was detained March 10, after he posted a harsh attack on the Communist Party regime on WeChat (Chinese Twitter), calling for political reforms for the country.

In a new post published just after his release, Zhang, 44, said he was doing well and thanked everyone who supported him. In his open letter, immediately removed by censors, he states that the explosion and spread of Covid-19 highlighted the inadequacies of the Chinese government system, in turn the result of the lack of a modern Constitution.

The pandemic spread from Wuhan (Hubei) around the world. Since the end of December, there have been 84450 cases of contagion in China and 4643 deaths. Globally, the infected are over 4 million; more than 282 thousand dead.

Zhang notes that the persecution of people who reported the outbreak in December, including Wuhan Li Wenliang, a doctor who later died of the coronavirus, reveals how harsh and arbitrary the crackdown on Chinese society is.

The academician also asks the National People's Assembly, which will open its works on May 22 for its annual session, to transform itself into a "transitional authority", vested with the power to write a new Constitution in accordance with "modern political principles".

It is not the first time that Zhang has been targeted by the authorities. In 2013, again for his criticisms of the constitutional system, he had lost his chair at the East China University of Shanghai. Zhang is known in the news for defending some members of the New Citizens' Movement, founded by colleague and activist Xu Zhiyong, one of the many intellectuals currently in prison for criticizing the regime.

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