'Now Is the Time—We Can't Wait Any Longer!'

2013-12-03
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Xu Zhiyong speaks from behind bars at the Beijing No. 3 Detention Center in a screen grab from an undated video posted online on Aug. 7, 2013.
Xu Zhiyong speaks from behind bars at the Beijing No. 3 Detention Center in a screen grab from an undated video posted online on Aug. 7, 2013.
Photo courtesy of a rights activist.

Ding Jiaxi, Xu Zhiyong, and others have been detained for calling on officials to declare their assets, as have Wang Gongquan and others who supported their demands. But they are innocent.

The "decision" adopted by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on deeper and comprehensive reforms proves their innocence.

Relevant pilot schemes carried out by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection prove their innocence.

The "gentlemen" Ding, Xu, and Wang, who were detained in Beijing, should be immediately and unconditionally released.

And any citizens who have been thrown in jail under a miscarriage of justice anywhere in China for their demands for greater justice should also be immediately and unconditionally released.

Now is the time. We can't wait any longer!

It isn't "reform," to refuse to release the innocent. It isn't "reform" not to overturn miscarriages of justice.

Reform is life and authority; it's the same as the implementing the Constitution. It's not just the orchestrators of the main theme tune writing propaganda for themselves.

According to the powers that be, Ding, Xu and Wang, and all those other gentlemen have committed an undocumented "other crime."

This is a crime for which there is no evidence; a trumped-up charge expertly played. Easy.

The cases against [jailed 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate] Liu Xiaobo and [dissident artist] Ai Weiwei were made to stand up, so why not those against Ding and Xu and Wang?

After all, the entire history of China, from ancient times to the present, is replete with countless, groundless miscarriages of justice.

But things that could be done in the past, may not be achievable today, because the price to be paid is too steep.

Since the "decision" of the Third Plenum, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has launched a pilot scheme [which will gradually impose new asset disclosure requirements on most Chinese officials over the course of three to five years in order to battle corruption.]

Admittedly, there is still some distance between this pilot scheme and the demands of those detained citizens.

Perhaps it won't entirely meet the needs of the fight against corruption. But ... perhaps we are no longer in a situation where all praise belongs to officials, and all blame to the people.

This is an experiment that everyone can understand; an example enacted before our very eyes.

If the comprehensive reforms are to win worldwide trust, now is the time. Will they heap wrongs upon further wrongs, or will the good deeds begin to flow?

We are all watching.

Translated by Luisetta Mudie.

Bao Tong, political aide to the late ousted premier Zhao Ziyang, is currently under house arrest at his home in Beijing.

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