The Chinese government has continued its crackdown on environmental and social activists this month with the shocking sentence handed down for Xu Zhiyong, a former law professor who simply campaigned for the right of children in rural areas to be educated in cities and not barred from equal opportunity.
The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court found Xu guilty of “gathering a crowd to disturb public order.” Putting aside the dubious crime, the sentence for such an occurrence is just another outrage from the “Worker’s Paradise.” As if to amplify the authoritarian character of the proceedings, the court rejected the 68 witnesses brought to the trial by the defense. Diplomats were also barred from attending.
The Communist Party continues to struggle to hold on to power by jailing those who question corruption or the lack of equal opportunity. The Chinese police has also interrogated one of China’s most prominent civil libertarians, Hu Jia, on “suspicion of causing a disturbance”.
The arrest of XU is part of a crackdown against the “New Citizens’ Movement”, which advocates working within the system to press for change. Everything about that title worries the Communist regime which does not like “new” notions of rights or any “movement” launched by citizens. The government has also crackdown on a movement to press for asset disclosure by government officials, who are widely viewed as corrupt.
The arrests show Xi Jinping remains a totalitarian leader.
Xu taught law at a Beijing university and opposed the arbitrary detention used by local governments to sweep homeless and other undesirables from the streets.