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Letter to the Empire State Building Management

October 2, 2009

Celebration of 60th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of
September 30, 2009

Subject: ESB illumination to celebrate 60th anniversary of PRC

Dear Empire State Building Management,

As long-term tenants of the Empire State Building, we are writing to express
our surprise and dismay at the decision to illuminate the Empire State
Building in red and yellow to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding
of the People's Republic of China.

We want to make clear we have no objection to honoring China as a nation, a
great civilization or a vibrant people. However, this date commemorates the
rule of the Chinese Communist Party, a political entity that is responsible
historically for many grave violations of human rights.

While China has made undeniable progress in economic and technological areas
in the past 60 years, many key human rights - such as peaceful dissent and
of political participation, or the right to form independent unions - are no
more assured in 2009 than they were in 1949.  Indeed, preparations for the
60th anniversary of the PRC have set back human rights in China, resulting
tighter control of the activities of rights defenders and members of civil
society, heightened media and Internet censorship, and increased
surveillance by police and security forces across the country.

We would be grateful if in the future, the management of the Empire State
Building could handle decisions regarding the building's illumination in a
more consultative fashion, and in sensitive cases (such as this one) consult
with the building's tenants prior to finalizing the decision.

Carroll Bogert, Associate Director
Human Rights Watch
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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