Open letter denounces China human rights abuse

world | Aug 09, 2007 | By Asia News

Since yesterday (August 8) many Chinese-language websites have published an open letter to “Chinese and World Leaders,” asking them honour the commitment the Chinese government made to the international community to respect human rights during the Olympic Games.


The letter was signed by some of China’s best-known intellectuals and pro-democracy activists; people like Ding Zilin, leader of “Tiananmen Mothers;” Liu Xiaobo, world-famous writer; Bao Tong, who has been under house arrest for the past 17 years and is a former secretary to the late Communist Party leader Zhao Zhiyang (who opposed the Tiananman Square crackdown); Dai Qing and GaoYu, two famous journalists; and Hu Jia, a well-known human rights activist. Altogether 37 academics, lawyers, economists, etc., from across China have put their names to the appeal.


The letter states that if human rights are not promoted, the slogans heard at the Olympics will betray the Games’ ideals and leave a world “where people suffer discrimination, political and religious persecution, and deprivation of liberty, as well as poverty, genocide, and war.”


The men and women who signed the letter and who have often been victims of solitary confinement, surveillance and arrest, also slam the violence that has already taken place as a result of the Olympics.


For this reason they cannot share in any “pride” in China’s glory as the Games’ host country; for them, “these glories are built on the ruins of the lives of ordinary people, on the forced removal of urban migrants, and on the sufferings of victims of brutal land grabbing, forced eviction, exploitation of labour, and arbitrary detention.”


Moved by “deep affection” for their homeland, they are presenting a list of seven requests for China to fulfill if it truly wants to be up to the Olympic Games. The list includes a call for a general amnesty of all prisoners of conscience, freedom of the press for foreign and Chinese journalists, fair compensation for all those who suffered losses as a result of land seizures and forced displacement to build the Olympic venues and facilities, a demand for fair wages and independent unions for migrant workers involved in the Olympic construction sites, and an independent committee to supervise the use of public funds and prosecute those guilty of waste and corruption with regard to the construction of the Olympic sites.


Those who signed the appeal ask everyone to join them and add their names.


Here is the full text of the Open Letter:


“One World, One


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Source: Asia News