Chinese authorities must end their callous assault against human rights activists and free all those still imprisoned for solely exercising their right to freedom of expression, said Amnesty International, ahead of the expected release of prominent social activist Xu Zhiyong.
Xu Zhiyong is due to be released from prison on Saturday, 15 July after completing a four year jail sentence. In January 2014, he was convicted of “gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place” following more than six months in pre-trial detention.
“Xu Zhiyong’s release is long overdue. His conviction was a sham and he should never have spent a single day in jail for simply exercising his right to freedom of expression,” said Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International.
In recent years, activists have been released from prison, or on bail, only to find themselves under intense surveillance and round-the-clock monitoring by unidentified security personnel or thugs.
“The authorities must not continue to harass or intimidate Xu Zhiyong or his family, and instead let him again enjoy the freedom that was unjustly taken from him.”