Citizen XU Zhiyong Calls behind Bars

Rights activist, Lawyer and Lecturer Xu Zhiyong, who has been detained by police since mid-July, has released a secretly-filmed video message from detention, calling on more Chinese citizens to stand up for their constitutional rights. The vidoe was shot on August 1st 2013 at the third detention house of China’s capital city Beijing. The video, released online on August 8th, shows Mr Xu wearing handcuffs and an orange prison uniform and speaking while seated in a chair behind bars.

The following is the transcripts of Xu’s words in Chinese and English:

倡導大家做公民,堂堂正正地做公民,踐行憲法規定的公民權利,履行公民責任; 推動教育平權,隨遷子女就地高考; 呼籲官員財產公示。在這荒誕的時代,這就是我的三大罪狀。

社會進步總得有人付出代價,我願意為自由、公義、愛的信仰承擔一切代價。無論這個社會怎麼樣潰敗、荒誕,這個國家需要一群勇敢的公民站出來,堅守信仰,把權利、責任和夢想當真。

我很驕傲地在自己的姓名之前署上「公民」兩個字,希望大家也這樣,在自己的姓名前署上「公民」兩個字。只要我們大家團結起來、共同努力,把公民的權利當真,把公民的身份當真,共同推動國家的民主、法治、公平、正義,我們一定能建設一個自由、公義、愛的美好中國。

I advocate that everyone be a citizen, a forthright citizen: exercise the civil rights provided by the Constitution and fulfill a citizen’s civic duty, promote educational equality so that children of migrants may take college entrance exams at locations other their hometowns, and call for disclosure of officials’ assets. In this absurd era, these are the three charges against me. Someone has to pay a price for social progress—I am willing to bear all the costs for freedom, public good, love, and faith.

However defeated and absurd this society is, this country needs courageous citizens to stand up, to keep faith, and to take rights, responsibilities, and dreams seriously. I am proud to put the word “citizen” in front of my name. I hope everyone will do the same—to put the word “citizen” in front of your name. As long as we unite and strive together to take the rights of citizens seriously, take citizenship seriously, and jointly promote democracy, a rule of law, equality, and justice in our country, we will be able to build a beautiful China of freedom, public good, and love.”  [Translation by Human Rights in China]

Xu Zhiyong, a legal scholar and activist, has been detained in Beijing since 16 July, alongside two of his associates, Li Huanjun and Li Gang, on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order”. Another of Xu Zhiyong’s associates, Song Ze has gone missing and his family believe he may be detained.

After Xu Zhiyong was detained, lawyer Teng Biao and other activists launched a signature campaign, calling for the release of Xu Zhiyong. While Xu’s name is banned on the Chinese Internet, people use the traditional measure of telling each other about the campaign. Thousands of people have participated, despite that some were already taken for a ‘tea-drinking’ by the police for signing the campaign.

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