How one man went from China’s Communist party golden child to enemy of the state

Xu Zhiyong’s dream is for China to become a democratic country that is “beautiful, free, fair and happy.” It is a simple wish, yet in the eyes of the authorities, his vision is dangerous and subversive. The 50-year-old human rights lawyer and champion of social equality was sentenced to 14 years in jail earlier this month, along with fellow activist and lawyer Ding Jiaxi, who was jailed for 12 years. Both were convicted of the crime of “subversion of state power.”

The Communist party-controlled court has accused Xu of intending to overthrow the current regime by promoting his vision of “a beautiful China.” According to a court indictment, with a series of articles, blogs, websites and secret meetings, Xu, Ding and other activists were “seriously endangering national security and social stability.”…


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