The symbolic moves against corruption are accumulating; first a crackdown on expensive gifts and lavish banquets, and now a ban on expensive and unnecessary government buildings. Nevertheless, this corruption hunt is an internal Communist Party affair, with whistleblowers and activists not on the guest list.
Activist Xu Zhiyong’s arrest on July 16 has been seen as a sign that the CCP wants average citizens to stay the hell away from politics, and let the Party sort itself out. The Washington Post reports:
Even before he was jailed last week, Xu had been under house arrest since April and had not taken part in any demonstration, said his attorney Liu Weiguo. Still, the lawyer said, his client has been charged with “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” Liu said he has been illegally denied access to Xu since the July 16 detention.
Xu, 40, is the founder of the New Citizen Movement, a grass-roots social campaign that promotes the protection of human rights and the limiting of the unbridled power of officials. In a statement Monday, two of the movement’s supporters said that the group was “well-intentioned, not hostile — that it is constructive, not destructive.”
Yet by campaigning for a public declaration of officials’ property and assets, the activists represent a threat to the vested interests that underpin Communist Party rule.
Some 30,000 party members were punished for corruption last year, a jump of 12.5 percent over the year before; the Party may be taking their “anti-graft campaign” seriously but regular citizens, apparently, should suck it up.