Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Amnesty slams China activists' graft trials

21 January 2014, 14:48

Beijing - Amnesty International condemned on Tuesday the forthcoming trials of eight anti-corruption activists in China, calling them "hypocritical" and saying they highlighted flaws in the ruling Communist Party's much-publicised anti-graft campaign.

Starting on Wednesday with the case of Xu Zhiyong, one of China's most prominent current dissidents, the eight activists face possible five-year prison sentences in separate trials this week.

The activists are part of a loose-knit group referred to as the New Citizens Movement founded by Xu, a well-known lawyer and human rights campaigner.

They are being prosecuted over peaceful protests in which they held up banners calling for government officials in China to disclose their financial assets, seen by some as a reform which would combat corruption.

Since taking over as head of the Communist party in November 2012 Xi Jinping has repeatedly vowed to combat endemic graft in the country's political system, with state-run media covering the campaign extensively.

But Chinese authorities do not tolerate any organised activity that might develop into a challenge to their rule.

Prisoner of conscience

"Instead of President Xi Jinping's promised clampdown on corruption, we are seeing a crackdown against those that want to expose it", Roseann Rife, East Asia research director for London-based Amnesty International said on Tuesday in a statement headed "China: Hypocritical crackdown on anti-corruption campaigners".

Xu and the other activists are accused of "assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place" for their role in the street protests.

"We consider Xu Zhiyong to be a prisoner of conscience and he should be released immediately and unconditionally", Rife said.

"Anything less would make a mockery of the Chinese government's ongoing anti-corruption efforts", said Rife. The activists were on trial "simply for exercising their rights to assembly and free speech", she added.

The arrest of Xu, a trained lawyer and lecturer at a university in Beijing, has been condemned by the US and the EU.

Members and rights groups estimate that between 20 and 40 people connected with the protests have been detained since last year. At least three have already been put on trial.

Governments and rights groups have reported a tightening of restrictions on dissent and the media since Xi assumed the party's top post.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
4 ways to handle your cheating ma...

He is cheating. How do you handle him?

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Why do men choose second wives?

Why do men choose to have second wives?

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Wizkid set for twin Kenyan shows

Wizkid is back in Kenya. For two shows.

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Udada women's festival begins in ...

The Udada women's festival has arrived in Nairobi.

Submitted by
Uhuru pardons 2747 death row conv...

President Uhuru Kenyatta has pardoned a number of death row convicts, sending them to life sentences instead. Read more...

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?