Human Rights in China co-releases a petition letter from 3,000 people worldwide, including 24 Nobel laureates, calling for the immediate release of June 4 student leader Wang Dan and all political prisoners in China.
In a twelve-point open letter to the National People's Congress marking the eighth anniversary of June 4, 1989, Anhui dissident Shen Liangqing inveighed against China's political and social problems and called for wide-ranging democratic reforms, including an appeal to the Chinese government to investigate and publicize the truth about the June 4 massacre, to hold the guilty parties legally responsible, to provide compensation to the victims, to release all political prisoners, and to permit exiled dissidents to return to China. (The complete text of the letter is available in Chinese only).
Over the last two years, the Chinese government has responded to cries for tolerance and dialogue with stepped-up repression. Most dissidents are currently in prison, in exile, or victims of strict control and economic persecution. Human Rights in China strongly supports Shen Liangqing's resolute assertion of his constitutional right to express his political opinion in this harshest of climates. Furthermore, Human Rights in China joins with Shen Liangqing, as well as Ding Zilin and Leng Wanbao, in appealing to the Chinese government to reassess its verdict on the 1989 democracy movement.
In a separate letter also released for the anniversary of the June 4 massacre, 24 Nobel laureates and 3,000 other individuals and organizations from 52 countries wrote PRC President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng demanding the immediate release of Wang Dan, a leader of the 1989 student movement who is now serving an 11-year prison term for "conspiring to subvert the government." Human Rights in China, the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Committee of Concerned Scientists began collecting signatures during Wang's trial in October of last year.