• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 9:31pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 January, 2014, 4:12am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 January, 2014, 4:23am

Jailing of Xu Zhiyong a disgrace

You can understand why Chinese authorities consider Liu Xiaobo such a political threat. His call for democratisation and peaceful political transition may sound moderate to people living outside China. But the demands to allow multiparty politics and a separation of powers in the "Charter 08" political manifesto he co-authored amounts to a direct challenge to China's one-party rule and its monopoly on all the key branches of government. You can call it what you like, but switching to having multiple parties competing for political power would effectively amount to a regime change from the current political system monopolised by the Communist Party.

The case against dissident Xu Zhiyong is more difficult to justify. The law lecturer is far less subversive; he is not challenging the central government's power or its legitimacy. He has merely called for what President Xi Jinping and former premier Wen Jiabao have themselves demanded. In one of his last major speeches before he left office, at a State Council executive meeting, Wen urged reform and repeated the call to uphold the rule of law.

Xi has made it one of his policy priorities to crack down on corruption and impose austerity on party cadres. Yet Xu has been jailed for four years, ostensibly for "assembling a crowd to disrupt public order". But no serious independent observer doubts he is being punished along with several others for being part of the New Citizen movement, which has campaigned to compel officials to disclose their assets.

Doesn't the movement's aim coincide with Xi's anti-corruption drive, which has extended far and wide, having had almost 37,000 officials investigated last year? Powerful officials have been targeted, including Zhou Yongkang , the former security tsar, and Li Dongsheng , a former deputy national police chief.

Both Xi and Xu are demanding cleaner government. But some official investigations into corruption also sound like purges as part of Xi's drive to consolidate power. For example, Zhou and Li were reportedly close associates.

Xu wants fair disclosure laws that would apply to all relevant officials, including some very rich state leaders. Xi's anti-corruption is far more selective.

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This article is now closed to comments

pslhk
$1
-
I can’t help braving lightening strike
so to speak as all Cantonese understand
and show you the pity of humanity
-
don’t waste time lily gilding
preoccupied with elaborating the well understood
to prove a well demonstrated nature
that’s nothing if not retarded superficial and ($1 saved)
-
then you may begin to learn how thinking
is not the same as your habit of regurgitation
and the historic Cold War is now fought only in your mind
-
as you venture into the next step
you’d see that you’ve been reproving yourself
-
go get ready for CNY
you’d benefit from socialization like my MBF
who has a more open character than smartie
321manu
I see that Pierce m'boy has moved on to speaking in tongues. I guess when all else fails, that's what the CCP apologist playbook suggests.
lexishk
It would genuinely be a great leap forward for China, but the loyalists and apologists will continue to oppose it nonetheless. It's all about vested interests, paranoia and control.
lexishk
I'm indebted to you, 321manu. I didn't realise it was the one and only Pierce Lam's poetry I was suffering through on a daily basis. Now it all makes so much more sense.
321manu
I can't take credit. Someone else clued me in. Apparently this Pierce dude is a rather infamous idiot who gets around. Thankfully I only expose myself to his unique brand of stupidity on this site.

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