Activist Detained in Jiangxi for Urging Asset Disclosure
Reuters reports that Chinese authorities have detained another activist, this time in Jiangxi Province, for urging government officials to disclose details of their financial holdings:
Police from Xinyu, in the southern province of Jiangxi, detained Liu for “inciting subversion of state power”, her lawyer, Zheng Jianwei, told Reuters, by telephone. The charge is often leveled against critics of the party.
Police could not be reached for comment.
Liu, who has also advocated on women’s rights issues, last year started demanding that officials disclose their assets, Zheng said. She took her campaign to the internet and to fellow Chinese.
Zheng said he did not know the exact reason for Liu’s detention, but added that he had warned her “to be aware of her actions” six months ago.
A fellow activist told Patrick Boehler of the South China Morning Post that Liu was one of eight people who were apprehended by unidentified men on April 27 as they prepared to travel to Suzhou to commemorate Peking University student who was executed during the Cultural Revolution for criticizing the Communist Party:
Two of the people detained along with Liu have been released, Jiang said. One of them, Li Xizhen, shared on her microblog photos of bruises from beatings she said she had sustained in police custody. Li could not be reached on the phone.
Liu’s daughter, Liao Minyue, who on her microblog has documented several unsuccessful requests for information on her mother’s fate, declined to comment for fear of harming her mother’s case.
“Because the law doesn’t require relatives to be notified for such charges, we actually don’t know how many people have been arrested and charged,” said Hangzhou-based lawyer Wang Cheng, who has previously helped Liu in legal matters.
He said he could so far only confirm that five people including Liu were still detained, but only the charges against Liu had been made known, he said.
Police in Beijing detained four activists in early April for holding up banners in a public square demanding that top government officials publicly declare their assets, and four more were detained later in the month for participating in the street campaign. The issue of financial disclosure has simmered since last year, when some officials at the 18th Party Congress told foreign reporters that they would be open to the idea as a way to curb corruption. It also became a popular Weibo topic after Global Times Chief Editor Hu Xijin addressed financial disclosure on his own microblog.