“At every turn, the government has chosen to double-down on repression, rather than to permit Xu [Zhiyong] and [partner] Li [Qiaochu] the basic human right to express themselves freely.” PEN America calls […]
Held incommunicado since February, writer and activist Xu Zhiyong will receive PEN America’s 2020 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award.
This in-depth, must-read looks at a spike in intolerance for activism in China, which, under President Xi Jinping, has culminated in a massive setback for the country’s human rights activists, faced with the most severe crackdown since the Tiananmen massacre in 1989. China Digital Times explores what happened and why the government is so threatened by the emergence of independent civic groups and both domestic and foreign NGOs.
(September 18, 2013) Guo Yushan, a longtime friend and colleague of high-profile Chinese human rights activist Xu Zhiyong, penned a grand and robust entreaty to Xu in late July (translated here into English), urging Xu to stand his ground as he awaits trial for “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” In reality, Xu, a well-known lawyer and founder of China’s fledgling “New Citizens’ Movement”, had called on officials to disclose their financial assets as it is thought assets disclosure will reveal the true level of corruption among government officials who exploit their political power for personal gain. In his letter, Guo likens Xu to Socrates facing the wrath of Athens and China to the disgraced biblical city of Sodom, and exhorts Xu to rise to his fate as an idealist, unrepentant — “let them charge you, let them torture you”.