Outspoken billionaire Wang Gongquan denied bail

Wang Gongquan, the billionaire rights advocate detained by police in Beijing on public order charges has been denied bail

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 September, 2013, 7:27pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 October, 2013, 11:45am

Billionaire and outspoken rights advocate Wang Gongquan, who is held by police on charges of disturbing public order, was denied bail on Wednesday despite calls for his release from supporters.

“Beijing police denied an attorney’s request for Wang’s bail,” prominent lawyer Chen Youxi, also Wang’s attorney, wrote in a post on his Sina Weibo microblog. Chen cited the police as saying the bail application had failed to prove Wang would not jeopardise society if released.

In another high profile case, police on Wednesday granted bail to the online whistle-blower ‘Huazong’ and released him from police detention, according to a report in the Southern Metropolis Daily. The article said the outspoken internet celebrity, whose real name is unknown, was taken by police a day earlier on suspicion of blackmail and extortion. It cited police as saying their investigation has nothing to do with the government’s anti-rumour campaign.

“[I] have to maintain good physical strength to co-ordinate with the police investigation,” ‘Huazong’ jokingly said on his microblog with regard to a photo of him posted eating noodles in a restaurant.

Wang, a 52-year-old former venture capitalist, has been kept in custody since he was taken by police from his home in Beijing last Friday on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb order in public places”. His supporters have claimed he has fallen victim to an escalating government campaign to suppress opposing opinions on the internet while officials call for a crackdown on rumours online.

Chen, a well-known lawyer with a prominent voice on the popular social network, said on his Weibo page he had met Wang at the detention centre on Wednesday morning. Wang had maintained his innocence and challenged the allegations made against him. Wang said he “only participated in some conscious works to bolster public welfare,” according to Chen.

Soon after word spread about Wang’s detention, hundreds of his supporters’ issued a statement on Saturday calling for his release. The document called the accusations against him “ridiculous” and endorsed him as a peaceful but adamant advocate seeking to safeguard citizens’ rights, as promised under the constitution.