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Nearly 200 Dissidents Petition China’s 16th Party Congress with Political Demands

November 5, 2002

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received a copy of an open letter to the 16th Party Congress signed by 192 opposition activists from 17 provinces and cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.
In the largest nationwide political action in recent years, the signatories make six political demands:

  1. Reassess the 1989 democracy movement and compensate those killed or injured in the crackdown.
  2. Allow political exiles to return to China.
  3. Restore Zhao Ziyang’s political rights and release him from house arrest.
  4. Release all prisoners of conscience and guarantee the protection of human rights.
  5. Push the National People’s Congress to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has already signed, and start the process of bringing domestic law into conformity with this and other international treaties that China has already ratified.
  6. Expand the system of democratic elections from the villages and municipalities to national elections.

The signatories of the open letter include Sichuan dissident Pu Yong, who died on November 2 of cancer contracted during his imprisonment. Informed sources say Pu Yong wished to participate in the open letter as his last opportunity to express his political demands.

HRIC fully supports to the efforts of Chinese citizens to express their political aspirations as the right and responsibility of all people in a modern society. HRIC president Liu Qing says, “It’s time for the Chinese government to address the legitimate demands for political change from its own citizens. As a first step the government must recognize that respecting free political expression benefits the development and stability of Chinese society.”

HRIC calls on the Chinese government and ruling Communist Party to immediately stop its suppression of opposing political voices, and to recognize and respect the rights of these dissidents to express their aspirations and criticisms.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (English) 212-268-9074
Liu Qing (Chinese) 212-239-4495