On June 23, 2009, the Beijing Public Security Bureau formally arrested Dr. Liu Xiaobo, a signer of Charter 08, on charges of "suspicion of incitement to subvert state power". That Chinese authorities would take such an extreme measure exactly 100 days prior to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, along with the previously announced mandatory pre-installation of the "Green Dam" filtering software and the all-out attack on rights defense lawyers, sends a grave warning to the international community, signaling further deterioration of human rights conditions in China.
Liu Xiaobo is a prominent Chinese independent intellectual who has long been appealing for improvement in human rights conditions in China and promoting democratic change, for which he has been imprisoned many times by the authorities. Late on December 8, 2008, the eve of the release of Charter 08, he was placed in criminal detention by Beijing police and later placed under residential surveillance .
Charter 08 is an open appeal to Chinese authorities to promote legal reform and political democracy and guarantee human rights. It was issued by 303 Chinese individuals from all walks of life, including writers, scholars, lawyers, journalists, workers, peasants, entrepreneurs, and retired Party officials, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It sets forth 19 specific recommendations, including constitutional reform; separation of administrative, legislative and judicial powers; freedom of association, expression, and religion; and civic education based on universal values and civil rights.
Human Rights in China (HRIC) strongly condemns the Chinese government's conduct in punishing free speech and trampling on human rights. Such conduct not only violates China's Constitution, but also deviates from international human rights law - including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has signed - and is causing strong protests both in China and abroad. Ding Zilin, a spokesperson for the Tiananmen Mothers, has entrusted HRIC with issuing a statement she has written to call for the release of Liu Xiaobo.
Attached is the statement issued by Ding Zilin and Jiang Peikun, translated by HRIC:
A call to everyone to rescue Liu XiaoboM
Ding Zilin & Jiang Peikun
It has been over half a year since Liu Xiaobo lost his freedom. His family and friends have been anxiously awaiting his return every day. All kindhearted people feel that in this year of the 20th anniversary of June Fourth, and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the government has acted in a weak, cowardly, and uncertain manner, and that not releasing Liu Xiaobo was just a pretext to intimidate public opinion. Who would have guessed that today, the government would go so far as to lose all reason and brazenly order his formal arrest.
It should be known that the Chinese government is arresting the most important of China's writers of conscience; it should also be known that the Chinese government is arresting the most important of China's moderate and rational writers. For so many years, Liu Xiaobo has been probing the issue of China's future path, reflecting on it rationally, over and over, and eliminating various unreasonable and unrealistic obstructions with goodwill. This has been to some degree reflected in the recently-released Charter 08. However, this government has definite plans with all the decisions it makes, namely, to catch the big fish while letting the small fry go, because it is afraid that if it doesn't catch the big fish, it will allow their ideas to quickly spread, and then it will be too late to do anything about it.
What "spreading rumors, slandering"? Isn't it just that your truth is not the same as the government's truth? What "inciting subversion"? Isn't it just that the values you express are different from those stipulated by the government? It's just like cars passing down two different roads. How can they be the same? How can they meet?
The arrest of Liu Xiaobo is a benchmark that shows yet another major contest between the forces of Chinese democracy and autocracy. Arresting Liu Xiaobo now demonstrates that in the contest between democracy and autocracy, the Chinese government has already resolved to take the latter path. But the choice of this path will allow the malignancy to continue to grow, and China's democracy and constitutional government will meet with even greater ruin.
China currently believes that it has found a way to defeat the forces of international democracy through rapid economic development. If the often avowed "soaring" and "rapidly emerging" "great nation" and "superpower," which has even adopted a so-called Human Rights Action Plan in 2009, cannot tolerate a mere scholar like Liu Xiaobo, this is a clear enough indication that the regime of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao has already shut tight the door to the so-called "political reform" and completely blocked China's path toward democracy and constitutional rule, let alone freedom of speech.
The arrest of Liu Xiaobo is not just a matter personal to him, but an event that affects the direction of China's future. We are calling on democratic forces at home and abroad to immediately take action and work to rescue Liu Xiaobo, on all human rights groups and organizations in the international community, and all governments and parliaments of democratic countries in the world, to show concern for Liu Xiaobo's fate and make every possible effort for an early restoration of his freedom.
Ding Zilin & Jiang Peikun
June 24, 2009 For more information on Charter 08 and Liu Xiaobo, plus writings by him, see:
Â§ Human Rights in China, "Chinese Authorities Continue to Suppress Charter 08; Number of Signers Exceeds 7,200," January 9, 2009, http://hrichina.org/public/contents/107728;
Â§ Human Rights in China, "Independent Scholars Detained: Start of 2009 Crackdown?," December 9, 2008, http://hrichina.org/public/contents/85186;
Â§ "Charter 08," translation by Human Rights in China, December 9, 2008, http://hrichina.org/public/contents/85717;
Â§ Human Rights in China, "Rights Crackdown Intensifies a Month before the Games," July 8, 2008, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/63047;
Â§ Human Rights in China, "Chinese Scholars and Activists Demand Equality for Migrant Workers in China," February 14, 2008, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/47369;
Â§ Liu Xiaobo, "Further Questions About Child Slavery in China's Kilns," China Rights Forum, 2007, No. 4, http://hrichina.org/public/PDFs/CRF.4.2007/CRF-2007-4_Slavery.pdf;
Â§ Liu Xiaobo, "Beijing's Human Rights Exhibition," China Rights Forum, 2007, No. 1, http://hrichina.org/public/PDFs/CRF.1.2007/CRF-2007-1_Exhibition.pdf;
Â§ Liu Xiaobo, "Remembering June 4th for China's Future," China Rights Forum, 2005, No. 4, http://hrichina.org/public/PDFs/CRF.4.2005/CRF-2005-4_June4.pdf;
Â§ Human Rights in China, "HRIC Statement on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Visit to China," August 31, 2005, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/24500;
Â§ Liu Xiaobo, "Atop a Volcano," China Rights Forum, 2005, No. 1, http://www.hrichina.org/public/PDFs/CRF.1.2005/1.2005AtopAVolcano.pdf.
For more information on the Tiananmen Mothers, see:
Â§ Human Rights in China, "Tiananmen Mothers: Public Statement on the 20th Anniversary of the June Fourth Massacre," May 27, 2009, http://hrichina.org/public/contents/169198;
Â§ Human Rights in China, "In Open Letter, Tiananmen Mothers Urge China's Leaders to Investigate June 4," February 26, 2009, http://hrichina.org/public/contents/135136.
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About Human Rights in China (HRIC)
Human Rights in China (HRIC) is an international monitoring and advocacy non-governmental organization based in New York, Hong Kong, and Brussels. Founded in March 1989 by Chinese students and scholars, it conducts research, education and outreach programs to promote international human rights and advance the institutional protection of these rights in the People's Republic of China.
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Also please visit HRIC's other websites:
-- Incorporating Responsibility 2008 Campaign, at http://www.ir2008.org
-- HRIC Chinese Biweekly Journal, at http://shuangzhoukan.huaxiabao.org
-- Chinese Online Journal, Humanity and Human Rights, at http://www.renyurenquan.org
-- Chinese Weekly E-newsletter, Huaxia Dianzi Bao, at http://www.huaxiabao.org
-- Support the Tiananmen Mothers: Fill the Square, at http://www.fillthesquare.org
The Fog of Censorship: Media Control in China: By He Qinglian. Based upon detailed research and analysis, The Fog of Censorship: Media Control in China describes how media control in China is carried out through an elaborate architecture of pervasive Party supervision, a broad and vague state secrets system, stringent publishing and licensing mechanisms, control over key personnel, and the concentration of press groups under a handful of media organizations operating directly under the Party. To read or order the book, please visit http://hrichina.org/public/contents/73316.
State Secrets: China's Legal Labyrinth: This report examines how China's complex and opaque state secrets system sweeps a vast universe of information into the state secrets net. To read the full report, please visit http://hrichina.org/public/contents/41421.
China: Minority Exclusion, Marginalization and Rising Tensions: This report documents the serious impediments to the fulfillment of China's human rights obligations, in the areas of ethnic minority political participation, development, and preservation of cultural identity. To read the full report, please visit http://hrichina.org/public/contents/36055.