01/25/2014, 00.00
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Liu Yuandong, activist who called for end of single party rule, on trial in Guangzhou

by Wang Zhicheng
The founder of the Southern Street battles press censorship and for the disclosure of the leaderships’ assets. Wang Gongquan, a wealthy businessman and friend of dissidents has confessed “crimes" against public order. It is suspected that he was tortured. Messages of sympathy for those arrested posted online . Campaign to send greeting cards for Chinese New Year to the Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Guangzhou ( AsiaNews) - The trial of Liu Yuandong , 36, leader of a movement calling for an end of the single party rule in China ( see photo) began yesterday under massive security. Liu is charged with disturbing public order because with some of his companions urged people to demonstrate in the street and put up signs against the Communist Party monopoly of power.

Liu is also accused of having supported the strike of journalists at Guangzhou's Southern Weekly a year ago, when an editorial in the newspaper - which demanded reforms and democracy - was censored.

Liu is the founder of the Southern Street which, although not widely followed, suffered a heavy repression, given that the government is afraid of it spreading. The group demands among other things that the Communist part leaders fight corruption and disclose their assets.

Xu Zhiyong is currently on trial in Beijing for having made the same demand.  He is also being charged with disturbing public order. Xu is the recognized leader of the movement of new citizens. His supporters include Wang Gongquan, a successful businessman , very critical of the leadership. Wang , who was also arrested for having organized a petition in favor of Xu, has not been tried . But the website of the # 1 Intermediate Court in Beijing has published the news that he was found guilty along with Xu of having "incited and organized criminal activities such as gathering people to disturb the order in a public space".

According to some activists and human rights lawyers Wang 's confession was obtained under torture.

Several observers believe that this series of trials against leaders of tiny groups is the Party attempts to implement a precept dating back to Deng Xiaoping, according to which the groups must be "weeded out before they take root".

The Communist Party's main fear is that these groups become movements representing the discontent of civil society, tired of the corruption and injustices perpetrated by the party-state .

A fact supporting this theory is that Xu and Wang's trials are provoking an outpouring of sympathy online.

Meanwhile , in Shanghai, hundreds of activists have launched a campaign to send greeting cards for Chinese New Year to the Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is serving a sentence of 11 years in prison.

Liu , 57, a fine literary critic and university professor, is among the drafters of Charter 08 , a manifesto for the implementation of human rights in China. For this reason - and for some pro-democracy articles published on the web - he was convicted of "inciting subversion of state power".


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