Beijing ( AsiaNews) - The four year prison sentence handed down against Xu Zhiyong, leader of the new citizens movement that had demanded a public disclosure of the Party leader's assets, "has destroyed the last shred of dignity of the rule of law in China" . This was the great dissident 's comment after the sentence was handed down two days ago. Xu was tried on January 22 , behind closed doors and total media silence.
New York based law professor Jerome
Cohen, one of the world's leading experts on Chinese law, says that "this
case, with all the procedural violations and the lack of transparency, has been
a repudiation of the party line ".
In fact, last November, the Supreme Court has ordered judges to reduce the manipulation of justice, by ensuring open trials and witness protection. None of which happened.
The four years sentence is also a
public disavowal of President Xi Jinping's proclamations and his fight against
in this trial - said Cohen - has violated what the leader of China and the
court have been preaching in the last year."
Although Xi continues to fight the corruption of high ranking officials, demanding they lead more sober lifestyles, that the Constitution and the law also be applies to Party members, the government also wants to stop the criticism from the outside protests and pressure from activists at all costs.
Immediately after the judgment
against Xu, another important dissident, Hu Jia , was taken by the police to a
secret location " provoking and stirring trouble ". Hu
's friends think that his seizure was due to Xu's support for him with
extensive debates on the internet.
In addition to the complaints against the hidden assets ( and corrupt ) of Party leaders, Xu - a law professor at a university in Beijing - has supported the legal battles of Chinese families whose children had been poisoned with melamine-tainted milk and has always defended the right of migrant children to access school and university in the city where their parents work .
Many in China think that the government wanted to target Xu because of its growing popularity and his imposing presence in the world of social networking.