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China activist arrested for 'promoting terrorism'

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Beijing: A Chinese anti-corruption activist who had urged officials to disclose their wealth was arrested for allegedly "promoting terrorism", as Beijing clamps down on Communist Party critics. Zhang Baocheng, 60, was a member of the now-defunct New Citizens Movement, which campaigned for democracy and government transparency.

It is unusual in China for members of civil society or human rights activists to be accused of terrorism, and his wife told AFP that she fears it suggests Zhang might receive a heavy prison sentence.

Zhang was given a two-year prison term in 2014 for "disrupting public order" after holding a banner in a crowded shopping area in Beijing urging officials to disclose their assets as a check against corruption.

He has continued to be a vocal critic of the Communist Party even after the movement was suppressed and at least 20 of its members were detained in a year-long crackdown starting in 2013.

But what led to his latest arrest is unclear.

Zhang was arrested by Beijing police on July 4, suspected of "picking quarrels, promoting terrorism, extremism, and inciting terrorism," according to an arrest warrant shared by his wife, Liu Juefan.

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