Dr. Xu Zhiyong

Dr. Xu Zhiyong is a prominent civil rights activist in China. He co-founded the New Citizen’s Movement, a collection of lawyers and activists that demand civil rights protections and Rule of Law. Dr. Xu served four years in prison for his legal activism in 2013 and was released in 2017.

During the coronavirus outbreak, he publicly criticized the Chinese government’s response and their censorship of whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) detained four of Dr. Xu’s acquaintances in December of 2019, and he began a life on the run. Authorities found him after 50 days in Panyu District, Guangdong Province, and placed him on residential surveillance.

In February of 2021, Li Qiaochu, Dr. Xu’s girlfriend, revealed on social media that he was being tortured while in residential surveillance. Ms. Li posted:

“I am crying while I write this update. For more than a week, CCP agents had tied Dr. Xu to an iron chair for ten hours a day. They deprived him of water and food. When escorting him back to his cell, guards covered his head with a black material beneath a heavy helmet.”

Xu still awaits trial, and he potentially faces a harsh sentence for his activism.