We are Chinese human rights lawyers and dissidents. Please allow us to write to you before your state visit to China.
The Netherlands is a great country in which people’s rights and freedoms are highly respected and guaranteed by the rule of law and democracy. But China is the opposite, especially when you talk about civil and political rights. Thousands of Chinese writers, journalists, bloggers and activists are in prison now, including Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and veteran journalist Gao Yu. At least 3890 Falun Gong practitioners have been tortured to death in custody. Christian churches are destroyed, crosses burned, and pastors detained. Millions of civilian houses have been destroyed without their owners being properly compensated. China carries out more than 90% of the executions in the world. The Chinese government violates fundamental international human rights standards. All of us had been detained and tortured for political reasons.
Since Xi came to power in late 2012, the human rights situation has been deteriorating rapidly. At least 2000 human rights defenders have been detained or sentenced, including Wang Yu, Tang Jingling, Li Heping, Pu Zhiqiang and Chen Yunfei. Many NGOs have been shut down, even the NGOs focusing on environment, women’s rights, LGBT, labor rights or citizen libraries are not allowed to work. Bao Zhuoxuan, a 16-year-old son of the detained rights lawyer Wang Yu, was prohibited to travel abroad and recently kidnapped in Burma by Chinese secret police.
The repression in Tibet and Xinjiang is much harsher than before. A prominent Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti was sentenced to life because of his writings. In Xinjiang, many protests were labeled as terrorist attacks thus many Uyghur people were shot dead without any necessity and legal basis. In Tibet, the number of self-immolations is 147, and 126 Tibetans have lost their lives. 79 self- immolations happened since November of 2012 when Xi came into office. Some family members of the self-immolators were even detained or sentenced.
This rising suppressive regime is threatening the whole free world, through manipulating and breaking international rules, supporting dictatorships all over the world and influencing press and academic freedom. Free and democratic states should do something before it is too late.
We understand both economic interest and human rights are parts of the foreign policy of the Dutch Government. But regarding China, putting profits over human rights and freedoms is an encouragement of the repressive policies and actions of the Chinese government led by Xi Jinping.
On behalf of many Chinese human rights defenders and dissidents we request your Majesty, and representatives of the Dutch government, to place human rights high on the agenda during your visit. We appreciate any effort of promoting human dignity and freedom of Chinese people.
Teng Biao (human rights lawyer, scholar; author of this letter)
Liao Yiwu (writer, poet)
Chen Guangcheng (human rights activist)
Wang Dan (democracy activist, scholar)
Yang Jianli (democracy activist)
Wang Tiancheng (democracy activist, scholar)
Oct. 21, 2015
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