Veteran journalist and former CMP fellow Xiao Shu (笑蜀), who was detained by state security police on August 2 for his vocal support of rights activist Xu Zhiyong (许志永), was freed earlier today after being returned to his home in Guangdong province.
Xiao, a key proponent of China’s so-called New Citizen’s Movement, a broad movement to promote greater citizen involvement in a range of social and political issues, posted the following statement shortly after his release:
Personal Statement from Xiao Shu
1. I have just returned to my residence in Zhongshan. As of August 4 at 1 p.m. I am once again free.
2. Beginning August 2 at 12:30 p.m., I lost my freedom for 48 hours. I was first illegally abducted by state security and taken to the airport in Beijing, where state security police from the city of Guangzhou returned me under close guard back to Guangdong. I was then held illegally at the Xiaoyingzhou Hotel in Guangzhou’s Panyu District. At no point were any legal procedures undertaken.
3. This extralegal forced measure owed to my coming to the aid of Xu Zhiyong and 15 other participants in the New Citizen’s Movement [who have recently been detained]. I came to the assistance of Xu Zhiyong and these 15 other participants in the New Citizen’s Movement out of a basic sense of decency, and because of my views on the building of a civil society. The building of a civil society is not about one person or about one group of people but concerns everyone, concerns the welfare of the whole nation, and is in the greatest public interest of the [Chinese] people. It is the greatest consensus that can unite various classes, and in particular those both inside and outside the system . . . The suppression of Xu Zhiyong and the 15 other participants in the New Citizen’s Movement is in fact the suppression of civil society, and it is impossible to tolerate. Each day that Xu Zhiyong and the 15 other participants in the New Citizen’s Movement remain un-free is a day that I will continue to give this issue attention and come to their aid. I am willing to pay the price for Xu Zhiyong and the 15 other participants in the New Citizen’s Movement, and for the building of a civil society.
4. I feel especially grateful for the attention paid to my case by domestic and international friends and media during my detention, and I would like to offer my deepest thanks. I understand that I bear a great responsibility, and I will continue to do my best.
5. My position is one of moderation, reason and determination, and this will not change in the face of any adversity. I encourage both domestic and international media to continue paying attention to the Xu Zhiyong case, exercising the greatest possible pressure within the scope of the law and the constitution. And I remind the relevant authorities to respect the law, to respect the opinions of the people, and to immediately release without charge Xu Zhiyong and the other 15 participants in the New Citizen’s Movement [who have been detained].
6. Further, I call on the authorities to release all prisoner’s of conscience, to abolish the process of illegal abduction and illegal detention just as the detention and repatriation system was abolished [in 2003], and to desist from all illegal coercion of citizens — so that all citizens can truly enjoy freedom from terror.