Xu Zhiyong arrested and prosecuted: Call for the Chinese Government to release him in accordance with international human rights standards
1. Xu Zhiyong, a Chinese jurist who has been promoting The Chinese New Citizen’s Movement, was detained in July 2013, formally arrested in August, and prosecuted on December 4th in accordance with an indictment (京公訴字 (2013) 99th). In response to this, Human Rights Now (HRN), a Tokyo based international human rights NGO, expresses concern and calls on the Chinese Government to release him by taking measures based on international human rights standards.
He was prosecuted for disturbing public order. The reason for the prosecution given in the indictment is that he put up banners on the street, handed out leaflets, and promoted movements by utilizing the Internet in order to realize property disclosure by government officials and the right to equal education, which resulted in attracting citizens’ attention and pressured the government. However, such activities cannot be considered crimes according to international standards or the Chinese Constitution; therefore, he should be released immediately.
China signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in October 1998 and has an obligation to respect the treaty. Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution also guarantees freedom of speech. “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration” as outlined in Chapter II. “THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF CITIZENS.”
Xu Zhiyong denies the crime that he was prosecuted for, and insists to his lawyer that his activities must be guaranteed by freedom of speech as prescribed in the constitution and that it is rational and legal for a citizen to state his opinion on social issues.
2. In Xu Zhiyong’s case, HRN expects that he will be judged fairly and that the judicial process was conducted justly. However, HRN expresses great concern about judicial processes with low transparency in China. Some lawyers and activists involved with the trial of Xu Zhiyong and other people concerned have been pressured by authorities, who have made their blogs and micro blogs inaccessible.
3. China has been elected as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council by the General Assembly on November 12th, 2013. Therefore, it must maintain the highest standards of human rights in the country in order to promote and protect human rights in cooperation with the United Nations Human Rights Council, and should not take action that goes against international human rights standards. HRN calls on the government to deal with the case fairly, take measures according to international human rights standards and fulfill its obligations to protect human rights as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Human Rights Now (December 26th, 2013)