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Statement on Sentencing of Law Professor Xu Zhiyong

January 26, 2014 - Canada's Ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques today issued the following statement after Beijing University law professor Xu Zhiyong was sentenced to four years in prison:

"Xu Zhiyong is known for fighting official corruption and advocating a society in which the rule of law applies to and protects all Chinese citizens.

Canada deplores the sentencing of Xu Zhiyong. We believe he is being punished for exercising his right to peaceful and non-violent freedom of expression.

This latest conviction is part of a series of incidents involving peaceful Chinese citizens, including journalists, academics, lawyers and religious officials.

Canada calls on the Government of China to end the harassment and unjust detention and trial of citizens like Xu Zhiyong, Ilham Tohti, Gao Zhisheng, Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia.

Chinese citizens like these who peacefully work to improve their country should be free from intimidation, harassment and prosecution."

Background Information

Other incidents of concern include:

  • the arrest of Professor Ilham Tohti, who has publicly expressed his concern for the well-being of Chinese Uyghurs;
  • the disappearance on February 2, 2009 of Gao Zhisheng, a Christian human rights lawyer known for defending religious minorities and land-rights petitioners;
  • the house detention of Liu Xia, wife of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who has been held largely incommunicado even though she has never been convicted of any offence;
  • the 11-year sentencing of Liu Xiaobo for incitement to subversion.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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