HRIC initiated the filing of a lawsuit against the former Premier of China, Li Peng. The lawsuit was filed at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Zhang Liming, who lost his sister in the Beijing massacre, and Zhou Fengsuo, Liu Gang, Xiong Yan and Wang Dan, four student activists who were imprisoned for their roles in the 1989 demonstrations.
TIANANMEN MOTHERS CAMPAIGN
- Prior to the August meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in New York, June Fourth victims and their families protested to the chair of the body over the fact that Li Peng had been invited to attend. During the meeting, a list of prominent signatories who have endorsed the Tiananmen Mothers petition was released. Among them were parliamentarians from around the world, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan legislators, and a number of Nobel Prize winners.
- At the Mid Autumn Festival (Lantern Festival) in September, the coalition of groups promoting the Mothers Campaign in Hong Kong created a lantern display in Victoria Park to promote the campaign, with a huge lantern composed of five 20ft high banners and accompanying small lanterns.
- Materials on the campaign were distributed to NGOs participating in the Asia Europe Summit Meeting in South Korea in November.
- The campaign was a focus of various events for this years Human Rights Day in Hong Kong. On December 10, campaign materials were given out and signatures were collected for the petition at a playground in Mongkok where local NGOs were holding a Human Rights Day Bazaar.
Mothers Campaign e-cards are among those prepared by the Hong Kong Alliance for the festive season this year: http://www.alliance.org.hk/postcard/
Send them to your friends!
CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS
- HRIC Executive Director Xiao Qiang was the moderator for a workshop on the topic Helping Democrats in Closed Societies, held in Sao Paulo, Brazil from November 11 to 13. This was part of a series of meetings of the World Movement for Democracy, organized by the US National Endowment for Democracy. Ding Zilin and the Tiananmen Mothers Network were among five groups, and individuals honored with awards at this conference.
- HRIC Hong Kong office staffers Sophia Woodman and Chine Chan attended a conference on gender discrimination in employment in Bangkok in September. The regional conference was organized by the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.
- On November 8, Swedens Human Rights Ambassador came to HRICs New York office to meet with Liu Qing and Xiao Qiang. They discussed Chinas current human rights situation.
- In November, Woodman and Chan attended two conferences on Chinas labor movement in Hong Kong.
- At the end of July, HRIC made a submission to the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee for its review of China policy. The document outlined HRICs concerns about the degree of repression in China and critiqued the dialogue approach to Chinas human rights situation. (The full text is available on our Web site.)
- Prior to the November visit of High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson to China, HRIC UN Liaison B□trice Laroche attended a meeting with her and presented a letter outlining our concerns and urging her to raise both individual cases and systemic abuses with the Chinese authorities. Following Robinsons signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we issued a critique of the proposed program of technical cooperation.
SPOTLIGHT ON ABUSIVE DETENTION SYSTEM
Chinas abusive Custody and Repatriation (C&R) system, exposed for the first time in a 1999 HRIC report, is finally receiving some critical attention from the press and legal scholars in China. HRIC published a number of articles on C&R during this period, including opinion articles in the Asian Wall Street Journal and Apple Daily by HRIC Research Director Sophia Woodman published in the run-up to National Day, when this measure is used extensively. In the same month, HRICs report was highlighted in South China Morning Post features on homeless children in China. HRIC also published an article on C&R in the Fall edition of French magazine Globe Memoires.
HRIC is grateful to the following interns and volunteers who have provided invaluable help in recent months: Anna Wong, Ingveig Tveranger, Joyce P. Wan, Morgan S. Stoffregen, Hungoni Zuakama, Teo Neparidze, Seth Eckstein, Sophie N. Beach