Call for Release of Human Rights Lawyer in China


Target: Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China; Chinese Communist Party

Goal: Release anti-corruption advocate and human rights lawyer Xu Zhiyong from detainment

On July 16 2013, police detained human rights lawyer Xu Zhiyong after appealing for the release of fellow activists. Xu had been held under house arrest since April on account of his request that public officials disclose monetary assets. Xu has never advocated violence, but instead champions the rule of law, seeking only to enforce rights promised in the Chinese Constitution. The Chinese government has no grounds to hold Xu Zhiyong under arrest. Demand that he be released.

A professor at Beijing University and one-time legislator in a district assembly, Mr. Xu is nationally renowned in his country for providing legal aid to marginalized groups and championing positive reform. Chinese intellectuals, citizens and even many government officials are baffled that such an outstanding patriot should be arrested. Police raided his home, confiscating computers and mobile phones, and arrested the lawyer. He has not been heard from since.  More recently, journalist Chen Min was illegally detained in Beijing after working to organize a petition for the release of Xu.

Representatives from the US and Chinese governments recently held annual discussions over human rights, with officials reporting that Chinese abuses are becoming both more frequent and severe. It isn’t uncommon for popular activists and reformers in China to disappear entirely for months at a time, often detained on fraudulent charges of tax evasion. Xu Zhiyong is only one of the hundreds of activists detained or arrested since the beginning of 2013.

Without official charges, the Chinese police hauled Xu Zhiyong away. His whereabouts are currently unknown. The arrest and detention of Mr. Xu is illegal under Chinese law and totally unjustified. The Chinese government must put a stop to their mistreatment of activists campaigning for beneficial reform in their country. Demand that Xu Zhiyong be released and allowed to return home.


Dear President Xi Jinping and Chinese Communist Party,

Your arrest of Xu Zhiyong is not only unwarranted and illegal, but also utterly unreasonable. Xu is a well-liked professor remembered for advancing progressive legal cases in court. He is a peaceable promoter of Chinese law and selflessly devoted to his country. An outstanding individual characterized by his dedication to public service, Xu Zhiyong does not deserve the appalling treatment to which you subject him.

His intentions are aligned with the goals of the Chinese government and he works only with the wellbeing of his fellow citizens in mind. Never radical, but rather practical and moderate, Xu was among the group to investigate the scandal involving adulterated milk and infant formula produced by Sanlu Group in 2008. He does not seek to deconstruct government nor does he contest the Communist Party or even rule by a one-party system. Why penalize and detain a true patriot? China does itself a great disservice making out such beneficent reformers as criminals. Your hostile abuse of constructive activists has gone too far. Please release Xu Zhiyong.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: zuola的朋友 via Wikimedia Commons

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