Probably the same letter previously reported by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) and German daily Die Welt has now made it into the international news as well. According to Reuters, it was signed by 73 scholars, while according to the SCMP, there had been 72 signatories.
A few days before the initial press reports about the open letter emerged, China Value had published a short history of open letters in China, and a discussion of the imbalances of power they indicated.
According to the SCMP, the open letter was drafted by Zhang Qianfan (张千帆), a Beijing University law professor. Early in 2011, Zhang opposed a – more or less systematic – motion of “Confucian scholars” who apparently advocated Confucianism as a state doctrine.