Appeal for Prisoners of Conscience

Dear Friend,
              Often we have been asked as to what people can do to help in our quest for human rights.
              Follows is a list of prisoners of conscience ( also attached) which you can send to your elected officials and ask them to bring the list with them when they visit China or if they are meeting with officials from China to present the list to their visitors.
              The prisoners of conscience are Ai Weiwei, Chang Boyand, Dhondup Wangchen, Gao Yu, Guo Feixiong, Liu Xia, Su Changlan, Wu Lihong, Zhu Yufu and Guo Feixong.
                While Ai Weiwei, Dhondup Wangchen, Liu Xia and Wu Lihong are not currently imprisoned, their freedom is limited and in the case of Liu Xia, she has been prevented from leaving her apartment or allowed visitors.
              After we finished the list, we were informed that Gao Yu has been tried and sentenced today to seven years in prison.  The charge was leaking state secret, but Hong Kong based Mirror Media Group which originally published Document No. 9 denied that it was Gao Yu who gave it to them.
            Document No. 9 is an internal directive from the government listing the "seven perils" connected with western values that should be excised from public discussion.
              * Constitutional Democracy * Universal values of human rights * Civil Society * Market reforms * Freedom of Press * Historical errors * Questioning Reform and Opening of China *
              There are so many prisoners of conscience in China that it breaks our heart to select only ten to highlight.
             Thank you and hope that with your help, the lives of these prisoners of conscience will improve.
Gratefully,
Ann Lau
 
 

China’s Prisoners of Conscience List   April 17, 2015               

 

Ai Weiwei 艾未未, Artist

A world renowned artist, Ai Weiwei investigated the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of many school buildings in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.  He and fellow activist, Tan Zuoren, recorded over 5000 names of children who died during the earthquake.

Ai was beaten severely when he traveled to the city of Chengdu to attend the trial of Tan Zuoren.  Afterwards he traveled to Germany and was found to have internal brain bleeding.  He subsequently had emergency brain surgery in Germany.  It was surmised that the injury was the result of the beating. 

On April 3, 2011, Ai was arrested and held for 81 days without any official changes being filed.  Banned from traveling outside China, Ai has remotely produced several art installations inside San Francisco’s former prison, Alcatraz.

We ask that Ai Weiwei be allowed to travel outside of China as the government is currently trying to end corruption which Ai Weiwei also wanted to bring out on the shoddy construction of the school buildings.

 

Chang Boyang 常伯阳, public interest lawyer 

Lawyer Chang Boyang was detained on May 28, 2014 after authorities repeatedly denied his requests to visit his clients who were detained earlier for trying to organize a memorial event to commemorate the 25the anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre.

Chang, with other lawyers, formed a volunteer legal aid group in 2004 to work on behalf of those being discriminated, including women, migrant workers, people living with HIV/AIDS or hepatitis B or C and other vulnerable individuals.  He was nominated as one of the top 10 Legal Aid Lawyers in Henan province in 2007. 

He has been accused of “Gathering a crowd to disrupt public order. “  Currently, he is being criminally detained.

As a lawyer, Chang Boyang has the right to meet with his clients.  We ask that Chang Boyang be released so he can continue to represent his clients

 

Dhondup Wangchen, Filmmaker 

Dhondup Wangchen is a Tibetan filmmaker imprisoned by the Chinese government in March 28, 2008 on charges related to his documentary “Leaving Fear Behind.”  The documentary consists of interviews with ordinary Tibetan people discussing the 14th Dalai Lama, the Chinese government, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Han Chinese migrants to the region. After smuggling the tapes of the interviews out of Tibet, Dhondup Wangchen was detained,

On June 5, 2014, Dhondup Wangchen was released from prison after serving a six-year sentence.  Currently, Dhondup Wangchen is still being monitored and prevented from leaving for California where his wife and children reside. 

We ask that Dhondup Wangchen be allowed to join his wife and children as he has served his full sentence already.

 

Gao Yu  高瑜, 71,  journalist,

Gao Yu is a well-respected journalist who started her career working for the China News Service.  She has been imprisoned twice before for her news commentaries. 

On April 24, 2014, Gao Yu was detained by police on the charge of leaking state secrets to a foreign website.  

According to her lawyer, Gao Yu is in a relatively good mental condition, but she suffers from high blood pressure, heart problems and other medical conditions. 

Gao Yu has been sentenced to seven years in jail on April 17, 2015.

We ask that Gao Yu be released as her confession was forced through threat against her son.

 

Guo Feixiong 郭飞雄 (real name Yang Maodong杨 茂东) Rights Defender 

Guo Feixiong is a human rights defener. He was criminally detained on August 8, 2013 on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order.”  His crime is his support for another human rights activist Xu Zhiyong (currently in prison) as well as his support for an editorial by Southern Weekly newspaper.

Guo is a long-time rights advocate who has been calling for greater government transparency and an end to corruption.  Guo is a vocal supporter of those calling for disclosure of officials’ assets. 

On November 28, 2014, Guo Feixiong, with his fellow rights activist, Sun Desheng were tried but the trial ended without verdicts for the defendants.

We ask that Guo Feixiong and Sun Desheng be released since they are merely asking for an end to corruption which the government is now trying to do.

 

Liu Xia 劉霞, wife of Nobel Peace Laureate 

In 2010, after it was announced that Liu Xiaobo had won the Nobel Peace Prize while he was imprisoned for an 11-year term for calling for multiparty elections in China, Liu Xia, Liu Xiaobo’s wife, was placed under house arrest and her mobile number deactivated.  

Security guards surround Liu Xia's home. She is not allowed to leave or accept visitors. The police have banned her from making or receiving phone calls or accessing the Internet. 

Liu Xia had a heart attack in January 2014.  She suffered from psychological stress, anxiety and depression - severe mental health problems that multiple doctors warned will worsen unless her current living conditions change.

We ask for Liu Xia to be allowed to visit her friends and family.  After all, Liu Xia has not been accused of any crime.

 

Su Changlan  苏昌兰, Women’s Rights Activist

Su Changlan, a women’s rights activist has been detained since October 27, 2014 after she made comments on social media in support of Hong Kong’s umbrella movement.  She is formally charged on December 3, 2014 for “incitement to subvert state power.” 

Su’s lawyer has not been allowed to meet with her.

We ask to inquire about the health of Su Changlan.

 

Wu Lihong 吳立紅, Environmentalist 

Honored by China’s National Peoples Congress as an “Environmental Warrior” in 2005, Wu Lihong was nevertheless sentenced to three years of prison on 2007 by a local court in retribution of his years of crusade against pollution in Lake Tai.  He was released in 2010 but continued to speak out about pollution in the lake even though he is constantly being monitored and prevented from travelling beyond his township of Yixing.

Jiang Hongliang, the Party official who personally persecuted Wu, jumped to his death on March 31, 2015 after two former officials above him were fired and under investigations. 

We ask that Wu Lihong be allowed to travel freely as he has already served his sentence.

 

Zhu Yufu 朱虞夫, Poet and Writer

In January, 2012, Zhu Yufu (朱 虞夫), a poet and writer, who had previously been imprisoned twice for his activism, was convicted of “inciting subversion” and sentenced to seven years for having written a short poem entitled, “It’s Time”.  The court “considered it a serious crime that deserved stern punishment.”

It’s time, people of China! It’s time.
The Square belongs to everyone.
With your own two feet
It's time to head to the Square and make your choice.

It’s time, people of China! It’s time.
A song belongs to everyone.
From your own throat
It’s time to voice the song in your heart.

It’s time, people of China! It’s time.
China belongs to everyone.
Of your own will
It’s time to choose what China shall be.

We ask to inquire about the health of Zhu Yufu.