Supporters demand billionaire activist's release following 'black Friday' of multiple arrests
In a statement published on early Saturday morning, hundreds supporters of China’s New Citizen Movement called on the Chinese government to release prominent venture capitalist Wang Gongquan, following his detention on Friday they described as "barbaric" and "cruel."
The 52-year-old businessman was detained by police on Friday at his home in Beijing on suspicion of "gathering a crowd to disturb order in public places", a charge identical to the one that led to the arrest of Xu Zhiyong, the founder of the New Citizen Movement. Xu had been in police custody since mid-July.
The statement by Wang ‘s supporters said the accusation was “ridiculous”, since Wang “could not possibly have disturbed order in any public places.”
“Mr. Wang is an adamant supporter of New Citizen Movement, ” it said, “this means he endorses the use of peaceful and legal methods to fight for Chinese citizens’ rights promised by the constitution, the development of China's citizen society, and ultimately to realise the peaceful transition of Chinese society.”
The statement also described Wang as a “sincere Buddhist” and “thorough humanitarian” who has nothing but “goodwill” towards the world and other people.
On the same day Wang was taken away by police, the wife of Chen Baocheng, a journalist who was detained in August in Shandong Province, was notified by police of his official arrest. Chen was detained along with seven other villagers for protesting against the forced demolition of their homes in Shandong.
Chinese media also confirmed on Friday that Dong Liangjie, an outspoken blogger and environmental activist, was detained this week in Beijing on suspicion of “spreading online rumours.”
Micobrologgers who closely followed the news of activists' arrests that broke on Friday, commented on Weibo that it was indeed a very "black Friday."
He Weifang, a liberal Peking University law professor, spoke out on his Weibo on Saturday regarding the recent arrests, criticising the Chinese government for “establishing its rule on the basis of people’s fears.”
“Threatening others only proves your weakness- just like those who try to fool people will eventually be fooled by themselves,” he wrote. “Handling critics by sending them to jail is nothing but suicide.”