Chinese writer, lawyer and human rights advocate Yang Maodong, commonly known by his pen-name Guo Feixiong [HRIC profile], became the second leader of the New Citizens movement to be arrested on suspicion of disrupting the peace on Saturday. This follows the detainment of fellow New Citizens leader Xu Zhiyong [BBC report; JURIST report] in July, in what appears to be a targeted crackdown on the human rights movement. Yang's family noted [AP report] a recent lack of communication starting earlier this month, but were unable to confirm he was missing until his sister received a message from the Tianhe branch of the Guangzhou police in southern China on Saturday that he was detained nearly two weeks ago. These arrests are thought to be connected to the publication of Xu's latest article [China Digital Times interview], calling for a political revolution, as well as protests against newspaper censorship led by Yang. The two leaders are deeply involved in several human rights campaigns, including Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) and Pen International [advocacy websites], both of which are working to spread the news of the targeted arrests of the leaders.
The detainment of Chinese activists has been a recurrent human rights issue in China, along with accusations of corruption within the Chinese government. In June a Chinese court in Huairou on sentenced [JURIST report] Liu Hui, brother-in-law of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], to 11 years in prison on charges of fraud. In May China's Nanjing Intermediate People's Court issued a life sentence to Huang Sheng, the former provincial deputy governor of Shandong Province, for accepting almost $2 million in bribes from 21 organizations and numerous individuals between 1998 and 2011.