Dear Subscribers

Dear SRIC subscribers,

Some of you might have been wondering about the two-month lapse at SRIC since June. Tom and I apologize for the “disappearance.” We are NOT one of the many China-related blogs that seem to have discontinued. Since Tom returned to the US last summer, I have all but taken over the blog. On June 4th, we opened a new site,, where Tom and I still work together except that I have taken up the role of running the site and overseeing content there.

Readers of SRIC over the last two-and-a-half years should have a pretty clear idea of how informative and insightful Tom has been throughout his 400+ posts. Over the year-and-a-half that I have joined him, I have randomly run into people who told me they were readers of SRIC and spoke of it highly. For me, the significance of the site cannot be overstated – it altered the trajectory of my life and led me to something I had not planned at all.

Tom said he had trouble writing a goodbye letter. I will not speculate why, but I will say, it’s not easy. We have had such a good crowd here; we have had good conversations; we have made friends.  I hope anyone who used to frequent SRIC will shoot me an email when you visit Washington, DC – I know a place with the best Cantonese Dim Sum in the area.

The new site focuses on what I have been writing at SRIC. It aims to bring into the English-speaking world the stories and voices of those who disagree with the country’s ideological mapping and seek to change its political system.

We were able, with one click, to move all the content at SRIC to the new site. As Tom’s 400+ great posts continue to draw readers in, we do the following at the new site:

We report some of the urgent events involving dissidents, activists, rights lawyers, and liberal intellectuals. Unfortunately, at this moment of time, most of what we report on is arrests or harassment or both. Torture is frequently used too by the authortities. In the most recent episode, on July 16, Dr. Xu Zhiyong – not a stranger to readers of this site – was criminally detained for the civil rights activities he had organized.

We continue to translate analysis and opinion pieces by dissident intellectuals as well as activists, as I had done at SRIC.

We conduct original, or translate, interviews with the people we report on to bring these individuals out of abstraction and closer to our readers.

Although the new site has a grand-sounding domain name, it remains a modest operation. Tom and I simply want to help facilitate, in our small way, China’s peaceful movement toward democracy.

If you are proficient in both English and Mandarin Chinese and you are interested in doing volunteer translation for the new site, please let me know.

Dear subscribers, we want you to make the move with us to the new site. Once there, please click on the black “Follow” button at the bottom right corner to continue to have our latest posts delivered to your mailbox, two or three of them a week. If you are on Twitter, you can also follow the Twitter handle of the site (@ChinaChange_org).

Before I establish a new email account, you can still reach me at

Thank you for being with us at SRIC. All the best to all of you and yours.



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Citizen Power for China: Statement on China’s Further Persecution of Liu Xiaobo’s Extended Family

Citizen Power for China (also known as Initiatives for China) is shocked to learn that the Chinese regime has handed down a severe sentence of 11 years to Mr. Liu Hui, a brother-in-law of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, in a Beijing suburb court on June 9, 2013, right after the conclusion of the summit between China’s president Xi Jinping and the U.S. president Obama.

We strongly condemn the verdict in this politically motivated case which has been completely fabricated by the Chinese Communist regime in order to further persecute Liu Xiaobo, his wife Liu Xia, and their extended family. Clearly their hope is to bring Liu Xiaobo to his knees, and to eliminate the emergence of China’s Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi, a conspiracy formed in 2010 after Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At that time China’s national security police threatened his wife, Liu Xia, specifically warning that since her brothers were in business, they could surely find some way to get even. That threat has now come to pass.

We also condemn the fact that the Chinese regime–in a further example of how much human rights has regressed in China–has once again begun to use the barbaric practice of “guilt by association,” and punishing political dissidents’ direct family members or even entire extended family, as was done in feudal China and under the dictator Mao Zedong’s rule.  

We emphatically denounce the trial and sentence of Liu Hui, which is not only unjust and unfair, but also illegal even under the Chinese regime’s own laws. The regime has indeed “lost its conscience” as Liu Hui pointed out after hearing his sentence.

We firmly believe that the persecution of Liu Hui has once again exposed the evil nature of the Chinese regime that has no desire for an independent judicial system, rule of law, basic and human rights for Chinese citizens, but a perpetual one-party rule over China, and the regime is willing to do anything to crackdown the opposition.

The Citizen Power for China is determined to launch an international campaign to raise awareness of Liu Hui’s case and to call on the international community, particularly the United States government, not to form a “new type of great power relation” with the Chinese regime, for only when the Chinese regime begins to respect their own people’s constitutional rights, can it be trusted to follow international norms in its international relations.

We pledge to lobby the U.S. government and other democratic countries to hold those individuals who persecute Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xia, Liu Hui and other members of their extended family accountable by banning those human rights abusers from traveling in the U.S. and other democracies, and freeze their directly- or indirectly-controlled assets.

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Citizen’s Statement Regarding the Arrest of Ten Advocates for Demanding Disclosure of Officials’ Assets

Citizen (公民), formerly known as Gong Meng or Open Constitution Initiative, and founded by some of China’s preeminent rights lawyers, is a NGO based in Beijing that provides legal assistance to the disempowered and promotes the New Cititzens’ Movement. Read the original here

From what we know and have learned, we believe that Yuan Dong, Ding Jiaxi, Zhao Changqing and the seven others who demanded public disclosure of officials’ personal wealth are innocent. In recent days, however, the Chinese authorities have announced the formal arrest of the ten one after another. With astonishment, we state:

1. The Personal Expressions of the Ten Citizens Do Not Constitute a Criminal Offense

On March 31, 2013, Yuan Dong, Zhang Baocheng, Ma Xinli, Hou Xin and two others unfurled banners in downtown Xidan plaza, Beijing, calling for officials to publicly disclose their personal assets. Ten or so minutes later, they were taken away by police, and later, four of them were criminally detained on charges of “illegal assembly.” According to Article Two of the Law of the People of the People’s Republic of China on Assemblies, Processions and Demonstrations, “assembly” refers to  “an activity in which people meet at a public place in the open air to express views or aspirations.” Assembly differs from average expressions in that assembly must be a collective expression through a gathering of a certain number of people. For example, Hong Kong’s Public Order Ordinance stipulates that collective expression of views by more than 50 people require a notice of intention. On that day, only four people were there holding the banners while Yuan Dong gave a speech. The others on the scene were onlookers, not participants of an organized event. The five were simply expressing their personal views by exercising their right to free expression and right to “criticize and make suggestions regarding any state organ or functionary” conferred by Article 35 and Article 41, respectively, of the Constitution. Their action does not constitute an assembly in legal term, and there were no such things to speak of as “disobeying an order of dismissal” and “seriously undermining the social order,” elements of the offense of illegal assembly as defined by Article 296 of the Criminal Law.

Of the ten arrested for advocating asset disclosure by officials, Ding Jiaxi, Zhao Changqing, Sun Hanhui, Wang Yonghong, Li Wei, Qi Yueying didn’t appear on the Xidan scene on March 31, nor were any of them the person-in-charge of that event or directly responsible for it. Some of them had similarly expressed their personal views in other locations in Beijing, but again, none had “disobeyed an order of dismissal” or “seriously undermined the social order,” elements constituting a criminal offence, nor had they been stopped or penalized by the Public Security officers. Their actions cannot possibly constitute illegal assembly or the offence of “provocation and disruption.”

2. The Ten Advocates’ Call for Asset Disclosure by Officials Also Reflects the Universal Norm and the Will of the People  

Fighting corruption is every government’s responsibility. Mr. Xi Jinping has also vowed to “shut power in the cage of regulation.” Although Chinese government has been talking about fighting corruption every year, and has indeed punished many corrupt officials, corruption is becoming more rampant than ever. Everyone recognizes that corruption is a malignant cancer of contemporary China. The root of the problem is the absence of a system capable of checking it. Public disclosure of officials’ personal assets is an effective anti-corruption mechanism, and 137 countries and areas around the world have established or implemented asset disclosure policies.

Out of their sense of responsibility as citizens, the ten advocates stood up to call for asset disclosure by officials. In March they held a discussion to draft a proposal for related laws, hoping to promote the establishment of a mechanism in an incremental way. Unfortunately, instead of adopting their suggestions, the government put them in jail. On the one hand, this is persecution of the healthy elements that work to build a civil society, and on the other it discredits the anti-corruption promises made by China’s top leaders.

3. We Therefore Make the Following Appeals:

We first appeal to the Chinese authorities: Please mend this mistake by respecting the rule of law in this case, recognize the innocence of the ten men and return their freedom through proper legal procedures, and provide necessary compensation to them. Mr. Xi Jinping once pledged to “carry out judiciary justice in each and every individual case,” and we hold him to his word. We will watch every detail in the development of this case concerning the ten men arrested for advocating asset disclosure by officials to see if that pledge was made in good faith. We will then decide whether we can pay any respect at all to the relevant authorities. We thereby urge the relevant authorities: The trial of the ten citizens must be independent, public, fair, and meeting all the requirements of judiciary justice.

We also appeal to the public: Please pay close attention to the ten citizens’ case. Rights exist for all or for none. Violating one citizen’s rights violates every citizen’s rights; those whose rights are trampled are not far away from us, and their fate is closely related to our own fate.

Finally, we must appeal to both Chinese and foreign media: Please fulfill your obligation as reporters, zoom in on the case of the ten citizens, ask questions about every detail and every procedure, and report the truth without trepidation.

We solemnly promise: We stand together with Yuan Dong, Ding Jiaxi, Zhao Changqing and rest of the ten citizens to continue to push for asset disclosure by officials. At the same time, we will hold ourselves to our aspiration of being a real citizen, and we will begin to change our country and society by changing ourselves for the better. We will not give up no matter what difficulties await.

Citizen Xu Zhiyong (许志永)

Citizen Xiao Shu (笑蜀)

Citizen Wang Gongquan (王功权)

Citizen Teng Biao (滕彪)

Citizen Liu Weiguo (刘卫国)

Citizen Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵)

Citizen Liang Xiaojun (梁小军)

Citizen Li Fangping (李方平)

Citizen Xiao Guozhen (肖国珍)

May 25, 2013

Related reading:

More Citizens Detained in China for Demanding Public Disclosure of Officials’ Personal Wealth

Appeal to Immediately Free Seven Citizens Criminally Detained for Calling for Asset Disclosure

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