Chinese citizens appeal to China’s new leaders to free political prisoners:
It’s been four years since the publication of Charter 08 and the subsequent arrest and sentencing of Liu Xiaobo, and two years since Liu Xiaobo was awarded Nobel Peace Prize. In an open letter to China’s new leaders, a group of Chinese citizens call for the release of Liu Xiaobo and all political prisoners as an initial step of political reform.
Despite four years of government suppression and persecution, in keeping with the principles of Charter 08, the open letter emphasizes the urgency to improve human rights conditions in China, and indicates the continuous strength of Charter 08 despite harsh suppression.
The open letter is as follow:
December 4, 2012
President Hu Jintao,
CCP Secretary General Xi Jinping and members of PBSC,
The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress:
Charter 08, published in December, 2008, is a manifestation of Chinese society’s wide support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that China signed. It expresses Chinese citizens’ desire for the government to respect human rights provisions under the Chinese Constitution. Its call for social justice and constitutional democracy has received wide attention and recognition.
However, Dr. Liu Xiaobo, one of the initiators of Charter 08, is currently serving an 11-year prison term, and many Chinese citizens have been punished for signing Charter 08. This is a brazen violation of citizens’ basic rights provided for by the Constitution and laws of the People’s Republic of China.
Inside China and abroad, people are hoping to see signs for political reform as China ushers in new leadership. Systematic political changes are complex and many-faceted, requiring rational deliberation and orderly actions, and we would like to see various social forces working together to advance this process.
we propose the followings as initial steps for political and social change:
1.Initiate legal procedures immediately to reverse the wrong verdict against Dr. Liu Xiaobo, and set him free as soon as possible;
2.Immediately lift the restrictions imposed on Liu Xia, Liu Xiaobo’s wife, ending forced isolation, and allowing her to live her normal life;
3.Immediately free those who have been detained or sentenced for their political stand, expression, or religious beliefs;
4.Immediately cease surveillance of people who hold independent political positions or/and expressing independent opinions, and remove all forms of restrictions on their freedom of movement.
We believe that the existence of political prisoners does not help China to build its image of a responsible world power. Ending political imprisonment is an important benchmark for China to move toward a civilized political system.
China faces complex problems, and reform is a difficult endeavor that requires all the effort from all the people.
Initial signers (in alphabetic order of names in Pinyin)
Ai Xiaoming(艾晓明), Guangzhou
Chen Ziming (陈子明), Beijing