Beijing Lawyer Xu Zhiyong Held for Tax Evasion

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By NTDTV 05/08/09

Chinese legal scholar Xu Zhiyong has been detained since last week. And now, according to the Associated Press, his brother says he’s been accused of tax evasion. Police had taken him from his home early in the morning of July 29th.

Xu is co-founder of the Beijing-based Gongmeng rights group—a group of activist lawyers that takes on human rights and public welfare cases. Most recently, members of Gongmeng represented parents of children poisoned during the melamine-milk scandal.Xu also teaches at the Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications.

Xu Zhiyong’s brother, Xu Zhihong, told AP that authorities had contacted Xu Zhiyong’s university and informed them he was being held for tax evasion.

Before he was arrested, Xu had scheduled a hearing with the National Tax Bureau. He was planning to dispute a hefty tax fine they’d imposed on the Gongmeng Legal Research Center.

Xu's arrest comes as Chinese authorities are cracking down on activist lawyers.