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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

WFDA report highlights Google censorship case and unjust Chinese arrests

January 26, 2010

Amy Elmgren
The Tibet Post
January 23, 2010

The World Forum for Democracy in Asia (WFDA)
published a press release on the latest human
rights abuses and positive developments in the
region. The report highlighted events in China and Tibet, noted below.

China: The high-profile dispute between Google
and China has put the spotlight on issues of
internet censorship. Some democracy and human
rights groups are cautiously optimistic that this
could be a breakthrough in the struggle for
Internet freedom in China, which would have
worldwide implications. On 13 January, the
International Campaign for Tibet issued a
statement calling it "a crack in the wall of
censorship that sets a new standard." Students
for Free Tibet released a statement praising
Google for announcing it would end its censorship
of search results in China, reminding the public
of SFT's 2006 campaign to boycott Google in
response to the launch of, and pointing
out that an SFT activist at Stanford University
was one of the Gmail users whose accounts were
hacked. Reporters Without Borders also welcomed
Google's announcement; a few days later the press
freedom organization condemned cyber-attacks on
the Google email accounts of several
Beijing-based foreign journalists, "call[ing] on
[China's ]ministry of industry and information
technology to provide an explanation." Yang
Jianli, founder of Initiatives for China, also
applauded Google's stance, while cautioning it
"not to withdraw from China ¡V at least, not without a fight."

In a ceremony on 16 January, the Hon. David
Kilgour, WFDA partner and former Canadian
Secretary of State, together with human rights
lawyer David Matas, were awarded the 2009 Human
Rights Awardby the Swiss Section of the
International Society of Human Rights. They were
recognized for their advocacy to end the
trafficking of organs in China, and Kilgour's
acceptance speech drew attention to the
persecution of Falun Gong and the disappearance
of Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

On 6 January, global democracy icon Vaclav Havel
attempted to deliver a petition calling for the
release of Charter '08 founder Liu Xiaobo, who
was sentenced to 11 years in prison on 25
December, but the Chinese embassy in Prague
refused to open the door to meet him. For more
details, read the statement from Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

Tibet: The 29 December sentencing of filmmaker
Dhondup Wangchen to six years imprisonment was
condemned in a press release from the Tibetan
Youth Congress and another statement from Reporters Without Borders.
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