EU urges China to free activist Xu Zhiyong
BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - The European Union called on China on Wednesday to release one of the country's most prominent rights activists Xu Zhiyong, telling Beijing to respect international standards on freedom of expression.
Police arrested Xu, who has called for officials to disclose their wealth, last week, raising the stakes in the government's crackdown on anti-graft campaigners.
"The EU calls on the Chinese authorities to respect the right to freedom of expression ... and to release Xu Zhiyong as well as all other activists who have been detained or put under house arrest for peacefully expressing their views," Europe's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
Western governments have sparred repeatedly with Beijing over human rights and the United States raised Xu's case this month during its annual rights dialogue with China.