China Arrests Prominent Businessman Who Backed Rights Causes
HONG KONG — The police in Beijing have formally arrested a prominent Chinese businessman who turned his energies and wealth to supporting human rights causes, his lawyer said on Monday. The arrest of the businessman, Wang Gongquan, was another step in the Communist Party’s drive to deter dissent, supporters said. Notice of the decision comes a day before China is scheduled to defend its human rights record at a United Nations hearing.
Mr. Wang’s lawyer, Chen Youxi, said in a brief telephone interview that a police officer had called him to say that on Sunday Mr. Wang had been formally arrested on charges of “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” Mr. Wang was detained on the same charges last month, and the decision to formally arrest him will give the police more time to hold him and to build a case, on that or other charges.
Wang is the second prominent user of the Twitter-like service, Sina Weibo, to be arrested under new Internet restrictions. Charles Xue was arrested in August on sex crimes charged, and appeared a month later on national TV to recant his outspoken criticism of the government on Weibo.
Meanwhile, the state TV office has told local broadcasters to significantly reduce the number of foreign-made TV shows and boost the amount of “morally beneficial” programming. It’s another sign of the new Party leadership’s plan to circle the wagons and fend off liberalizing attitudes and influences.