China authorities detain human rights advocate

Chinese writer, lawyer and human rights advocate Yang Maodong, commonly known by his pen-name Guo Feixiong (HRIC profile), on Aug. 17 became the second leader of the New Citizens movement to be arrested on suspicion of disrupting the peace. This follows the detainment of fellow New Citizens leader Xu Zhiyong  in July, in what appears to be a targeted crackdown on the human rights movement. Yang’s family noted a recent lack of communication starting earlier this month, but were unable to confirm he was missing until his sister received a message from the Tianhe branch of the Guangzhou police in southern China on Saturday that he was detained nearly two weeks ago. These arrests are thought to be connected to publication of Xu’s latest article, calling for a political revolution, as well as protests against newspaper censorship led by Yang. The two leaders are deeply involved in several rights campaigns, including Chinese Human Rights Defenders  and Pen International.

The detainment of Chinese activists has been a recurrent human rights issue in China, along with accusations of corruption within the Chinese government. In June a Chinese court in Huairou sentenced Liu Hui, brother-in-law of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo (BBC Profile), to 11 years in prison on charges of fraud. In May China’s Nanjing Intermediate People’s Court issued a life sentence to Huang Sheng, the former provincial deputy governor of Shandong Province, for accepting almost $2 million in bribes from 21 organizations and numerous individuals between 1998 and 2011.

From Jurist, Aug. 18. Used with permission.


  1. China: anti-corruption activists on trial
    The trial of anti-corruption activists Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping and Li Sihua, followers of the New Citizens’ Movement, opened this week in Xinyu, Jiangxi province. The three were detained after taking photographs with banners urging officials to disclose their assets. They were initially charged with subversion, but the charge was later changed to illegal assembly, activists and lawyers say.Tight security is in place for the trial, with lines of police blocking roads outside the court. Defense lawyer Pang Kun told reporters that he had been detained by police on Oct. 27. (BBC News, Oct. 28)

  2. Trial of Jiangxi activists suspended
    A Chinese court suspended the trial of activists Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping and Li Sihua on Oct. 28 after defendants and lawyers protested myriad violations of legal rights. The defendants remain detained, and a new date for the trial is to be set. (CHRD, Oct. 29)