July 15, 2017
One of China’s most prominent rights activists was released by the authorities on Saturday after serving a four-year sentence that prompted international criticism, with his lawyer saying he hoped he would be allowed to live as a free man.
Xu Zhiyong, whose “New Citizens’ Movement” advocated working within the system to press for change, was detained in 2013 and subsequently convicted of “gathering a crowd to disturb public order”.
One of the group’s main demands had been for officials to publicly disclose their assets, a demand taken against the backdrop of the ruling Communist Party’s own efforts to crackdown on deep-seat corruption under President Xi Jinping.
Xu’s lawyer, Zhang Qingfang, told Reuters he had brought Xu up to speed with “events on the outside”, including the death of fellow activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo. He said Xu was “upset” upon hearing the news.
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