04/11/2014, 00.00
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Beijing, Xu Zhiyong sentence confirmed on appeal

The activist, founder of New Citizens Movement, has long called for the government to publicly disclose the leadership’s personal assets. An increasing number of anti-corruption activists end up in court. In Hong Kong, his autobiography published: "To Be a Citizen."

Beijing ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Beijing People's High Court this morning rejected the appeal filed by Xu Zhiyong, a civil rights activist and founder of the New Citizens Movement, who has long called for the government to publicly disclose the leadership's personal assets. Xu was sentenced in January 2014 to 4 years in prison: a Beijing court also opened proceedings last April 9 against Ding Jiaxi and Li Wei, also from the Movement. All of them are accused of "disturbing public order".

According to several experts on contemporary China, Xu 's trial is "clearly political": The central government is carrying out a merciless campaign against all forms of the population's active participation in national political life. The Movement supports the same demands for transparency proclaimed by President Xi Jinping, but is seen as a threat because it operates outside of the Communist Party.

A statement posted this morning on the Movement's website reads: "Those guilty are not Xu Zhiyong or citizens like Ding Jiaxi, Zhao Changqing, Zhang Baocheng or Li Wei, but all those judges and decision makers. It is the judges and decision makers who have insulted the law and the good conscience. Now they have judged citizens, but history will judge them".

Also today, marking his conviction on appeal , the New Century Press publishing house in Hong Kong has brought out an autobiography by Xu entitled "To Be a Citizen." The book is divided into three parts: first, Xu talks about his life and his experiences, which led him to develop a political consciousness; the second is dedicated to his vision of a democratic China; the third contains his last public appeal, pronounced before the sentencing in January, 2014, and an open letter to President Xi Jinping.


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