RAN 9/11: CHINA PETITION

March 2, 2011

CHINA: Renewed crackdown on dissidents and activists; fears for safety.


STATEMENT

PEN International is alarmed at reports of a violent crackdown on government critics and human rights defenders in recent days in response to increased fears of social unrest. Over one hundred human rights defenders and activists have reportedly been harassed, intimidated or detained and a number of foreign journalists assaulted in a targeted campaign to suppress dissent. Members of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC) are amongst those targeted. PEN International reminds the Chinese authorities of their obligations to uphold the right to freedom of expression, freedom of information and freedom of assembly as guaranteed by Article 35 of the Chinese constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is a state party. It calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained for the peaceful expression of their views, and seeks urgent guarantees of the safety of those held without due process.

BACKGROUND

Since 16 February 2011 police have stepped up their harassment of human rights defenders and activists across the country, apparently in response to anonymous calls for ‘Jasmine Revolution’ protests. Many have been briefly detained, harassed, summoned or place under house arrest, but at least five prominent rights activists and dissidents have been reportedly criminally detained for allegedly ‘endangering state security’ and may face charges of ‘inciting subversion’ or ‘subversion of state power’. They include writer Ran Yunfei and prominent ‘weiquan’ or ‘rights protection’ lawyer Teng Biao, both members of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, arrested on 19 February 2011. Both men are feared to be at risk of torture or ill-treatment in detention.

PEN is also alarmed at reports of the increasingly widespread use of extra-judicial or ‘soft’ detention, in which government critics are subject to arbitrary arrest without charge, abduction, assault and intimidation. Of particular concern is the persecution of Liu Xia, wife of imprisoned dissident writer and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who has been held incommunicado under strict house arrest at her home in Beijing since 18 October 2010 and is denied any contact with the outside world. Concerns for her welfare and psychological integrity are acute.


FOR MORE INFORMATION
Statement by Independent Chinese PEN Centre on the recent crackdown:
http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5642/prmID/172


Writings by Ran Yunfei:

http://chinadigitaltimes.net/china/ran-yunfei/

 

BBC News reports:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12608428

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12593328


TAKE ACTION

Sign below to send the following appeals:

- Expressing alarm at the recent crackdown on dissent in which writers, journalists and human rights defenders are amongst those to have targeted;

- Reminding the Chinese authorities of their obligations under Article 35 of the Chinese constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which it is a state party;

- Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in the P.R. China for the peaceful exercise of their right to free expression.

These appeals will be sent to:

His Excellency Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China

MA Zhenchuan Juzhan, Director of the Beijing Public Security Bureau

WU Aiying Buzhang, Minister of Justice

MENG Jianzhu, Minister of Public Security of the People's Republic of China

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