China Detains Activist Billionaire Wang Gongquan Amid Crackdown on Dissent

Beijing police arrested and detained billionaire venture capitalist Wang Gongquan on September 13, 2013 on suspicion of “gathering crowds to disturb social order”, another disturbing move in the latest crackdown that targets opinion leaders, intellectuals and activists online and offline.

Wang Gongquan [zh] was once a Chinese Communist Party propaganda official in Jilin province. He left the office and decided to go south to Hainan province for trade in 1988. Arrested and detained for one year after the June 4 Tiananmen crackdown, he returned to the business sector and become the vice chairperson of Vantone corporation, a property development corporation, in 1993. He entered the venture business field in 2005 and become a billionaire because of a number of successful investments in early 2000.
Different from other business people, Wang has been an active member of civil society. In 2005 he joined Xu Zhiyong’s Open Constitution Initiative, known as Gongmeng, and started advocating for citizens’ rights and promoting the development of mainland Chinese civil society through online signature campaigns and publications. In 2010, Wang Gongquan, together with a number of citizens’ rights activists issued a joint statement called “citizen engagement”, which sets the principles and parameters for citizen’s social and political engagement as protected by their constitutional right. The action is consider a public launch of the New Citizens’ Movement.


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