|International pressure can help the effort to improve human rights in China. You can be part of that effort.
1. Please send faxes or e-mails to your government officials urging intervention with the Chinese leadership. In your communication ask that the Chinese government reverse the official verdict on the 1989 movement, give a full accounting of those killed or wounded, release all those still detained since 1989 due to their role in the pro-democracy movement, compensate the victims, and abolish an official "blacklist" barring democracy activists in exile from returning to China.
2. China, by its own count, holds more than 2,000 prisoners accused of political crimes that are collectively known as "counterrevolutionary activity." Many, if not most, of those prisoners have been accused of non-violent activities that are seen as opposing the political system, undermining the integrity of the state, or jeopardizing national security. (Some of those accused of counterrevolution, however, have been charged with crimes such as spying for Taiwan.) In 1997, the crimes of counterrevolution were officially abolished from the Chinese Criminal Code but the government has refused to consider reviewing the convictions of those already sentenced. At a minimum, urge your government to request a complete and verifiable list of all those currently in prison or any other form of detention on counterrevolutionary charges. Getting the names of the prisoners, the specific nature of the charges, as well as the date and place of arrest and current place of detention, is the first step toward working for their release or for a review of their sentences.
Obtaining such information would aid enormously in moving beyond the release of one or two prisoners at a time to addressing the more systemic problem of arbitrary detention.
3. International pressure over the last few years has succeeded in securing the release of several prominent Chinese political prisoners who otherwise would still be in prison. In your faxes and e-mails urge the release of Wang Youcai, Xu Wenli and Qin Yongmin, sentenced in December 1998 for their efforts to form an opposition political party. Press also for the release of other prisoners whose names are not as well-known, such as Li Hai, Chadrel Rinpoche, Hada, and Tegexi, who were arrested solely for non-violent political or religious activities. Express your concern that they are being arbitrarily detained for exercising their rights to free association and expression. Note that these rights are guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has signed. Please send copies to the Chinese ambassador to your country. The basic format is here for your ready use.
In the United States, appeals can be sent to:
United States Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
fax: (202) 647-1533
His Excellency Li Zhaoxing
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
fax: (202) 328-2582
The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
fax: (202) 456-2883
Bi-Partisan Foreign Policy Leadership Urges President Clinton
to Renew Fight for Human Rights in China (December 10, 1998)
Bound and Gagged: Freedom of Association in China Further Curtailed Under New Regulations
Human Rights in China press release, 13 November 1998