Abonnez-vous à notre liste d'envoi

« Je reste attaché au dialogue. Je suis en effet fermement convaincu que le dialogue et la volonté d’examiner clairement et honnêtement la réalité du Tibet peuvent nous conduire à une solution viable. »

Letter from the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China to Prime Minister Harper on eve of visit to China

February 02, 2012

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper

Prime Minister of Canada

80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2
by fax: 613 941 6900

January 31, 2012

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to you, as members of the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China,1 in advance of your upcoming visit to China. We view your visit as a valuable opportunity to advance human rights as a key priority in Canada’s relationship with China and in particular to highlight a number of critical issues, including the plight of prisoners of conscience.   We recognize that you face competing pressures regarding issues to prioritize, including trade considerations at a time of economic uncertainty. We trust that you will agree with us that human rights cannot be sold short to these interests. The rights of the many millions of people who face injustices at the hands of Chinese authorities on a daily basis matter too much to be given secondary attention. And ultimately, the relationship between Canada and China will be stronger if it is grounded in mutual respect for key international human rights principles.

A critical moment

Prime Minister, you travel to China at a critical time for increased and more forceful attention to human rights in the China/Canada relationship for three key reasons.

First, the past year has been a very difficult time for human rights protection in China. Coming in the wake of the global human rights scrutiny that accompanied the Beijing Olympics in 2008 or the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo in 2010, the international community’s interest in China’s human rights situation appears to have waned during 2011. Unfortunately, that diminished concern comes alongside deterioration in China’s human rights record.

Notably, throughout the year there has been a relentless crackdown against the country’s beleaguered human rights community. Human rights lawyers and other activists have been arrested, disappeared in custody, subjected to torture and ill-treatment, held for long periods without charge or trial, and convicted after blatantly unfair trials. The crackdown reflects Chinese government fears that reformers in China intended to launch a peaceful protest movement similar to the so-called “Arab Spring”. But while the world spoke out forcefully about the repression in the Middle East and North Africa, China’s moves against individuals pressing for democratic and human rights change went largely unchallenged by other states.

Against this backdrop, changes to China’s Criminal Procedure Law have been proposed which would allow detention for up to six months in undisclosed locations without charge or trial, essentially legalizing “disappearances.”

Second, your visit comes at a time when the balance of influence Canada has with China has shifted in important ways. Past Canadian governments have argued that Canada holds little sway with China and that forcefulness with respect to human rights concerns will be ignored and will only harm Canada’s commercial links with the country. However, that has changed considerably in recent years with the Chinese government’s notable interest in gaining a foothold in the Canadian natural resource sector, including oil, gas and mining companies and projects. That merits, in our view, a more confident and bold willingness to raise human rights concerns during your meetings with Chinese officials.

Third, we have noted the priority your government has given to the need for strengthened protection of the right to freedom of religion, reflected in the decision to establish an Office of Religious Freedom within the Department of Foreign Affairs. Many of the very serious human rights problems prevailing in China involve violations of this right, be it the persecution of Tibetans and Uyghurs, the campaign against practitioners of Falun Gong, and the ban on “underground” Christian churches. The government’s decision to establish an Office of Religious Freedom, with a global mandate, offers a timely opportunity to raise these concerns.

In particular, the unprecedented wave of self-immolations as a form of desperate protest by sixteen Tibetans in recent months, and the demonstrations by Tibetans and escalating violence by Chinese security forces in response in Sichuan Province over the past week, are all cause for grave alarm.

In fact, the human rights situation in China continues to be worrying on very many fronts and has worsened recently in some respects. Attached to this letter we have provided a summary of some of the key concerns of members of our Coalition. We have also included a list of ten cases of individuals detained in China at this time who we consider to be unjustly imprisoned. A complete list of such cases would, unfortunately, be far too lengthy to compile. This list is a selection of emblematic cases which we feel represents that range of cases.

Recommendations:

Prime Minister, we began this letter urging that you make human rights issues a priority focus of your upcoming visit to China. In that regard we specifically call on you to:

  • Raise concerns about the worsening situation in Tibet, in line with previous statements made by the US and German governments.

  • Press for reforms to be instituted to ensure that the right to religious freedom and all other universally-recognized human rights of Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Christians and other faith groups is fully respected.

  • Raise concerns about the prisoner cases outlined in the list compiled by our Coalition. The document includes the case of Husseyin Celil, which we expect you will pursue at all possible opportunities. We urge you to press forcefully for Canadian consular access to Mr. Celil finally to be granted, and demand that due to the failure to provide him with a fair trial he should be promptly and unconditionally released.

  • Make it clear that Canada is gravely concerned about the crackdown against human rights lawyers and activists.

  • Urge that the proposed changes to the Criminal Procedure Law be withdrawn and that any further reforms be consistent with international human rights requirements.

We will follow the news of your visit with close interest and look forward to hearing of the efforts you take to press these and other human rights concerns while you are in China.

Sincerely,

Alex Neve

Secretary General

Amnesty International Canada,

on behalf of the Canadian Coalition for Human Rights in China

1 This letter is endorsed by the following member organizations of the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China: Amnesty International Canada (English & Francophone Branches), ARC International, Canada Tibet Committee, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Federation for a Democratic China, Movement for Democracy in China (Calgary), PEN Canada, Students for a Free Tibet Canada, Toronto Association for Democracy in China, the Uyghur Canadian Society and the Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement in China.

 

Prisoners of Conscience in the People's Republic of China



We, the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China* submit a list of jailed prisoners of conscience. Each individual case has not necessarily been investigated or taken up by each of the organizations. They are presented together here as a compilation in alphabetical order. We request Canadian authorities to inform us of their situation, and to urge the Chinese government to release them immediately and unconditionally.


*The coalition currently includes Amnesty International, ARC International, Canada Tibet Committee, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Canadian Labour Congress, Falun Dafa Association of Canada, PEN Canada, Students for a Free Tibet (Canada), Toronto Association for Democracy in China, and the Uyghur Canadian Association.


Contact for Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China :


Dermod Travis

Canada Tibet Committee

Tel: (514) 487-0665

Email: piracomm@gmail.com


Index

Prisoner’s Name

  1.  

Wang, Bingzhang 王炳章also known as Lou Kaiwen or Qi Xia

  1.  

Liu Xiaobo

  1.  

Dhondup Wangchen

  1.  

Wang, Zhiwen 王治文

  1.  

Nurmehemmet Yasin 努力默赫默德. 亚森

  1.  

Gao Zhisheng 高智晟

  1.  

Shi, Tao 师涛

  1.  

Yang Tongyan 杨同彦 (alternate name: Yang, Tianshui 杨天水)

  1.  

Yang Chunlin 杨春林also known as Li, Zhi 李志

  1.  

Huseyin Celil









Case Card 1


Name of Individual

Wang, Bingzhang 王炳章

Present Location

Guangdong Province

Shaoguan Prison (Beijiang)

Age; Sex; Ethnicity

64; male; Han Chinese

Occupation

Doctor, pro-democracy activist, founder of China-Spring Movement

Key Dates

In jail since July 3, 2002

Sentence

Life imprisonment

Charges

Spying and terrorist activities

Additional Details / Background

Wang Bingzhang, a permanent U.S. resident and longtime dissident, is currently serving a life sentence at a prison in Shaoguan, Guangdong province. A medical doctor by training, Wang traveled to Canada in 1979 and established the pro-democracy magazine China Spring in 1982. In 1998, he was arrested and deported after he returned to China and attempted to organize an opposition party. In June 2002, Wang disappeared while traveling in Vietnam. Numerous reports allege that he was abducted by Chinese agents and held incommunicado in southern China. In December 2002, the Chinese government announced that it had been holding Wang since July and that he had been formally arrested on espionage and terrorism charges. Wang was tried on January 22, 2003 in a closed trial in Shenzhen. His conviction and life sentence was announced on February 10, 2003. An appeal was rejected on February 28, 2003. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has ruled that Wang’s detention is arbitrary. Wang is kept under solitary confinement and suffers from phlebitis and respiratory problems. In May 2009, authorities prevented Wang’s daughter Ti-Anna from entering China to visit her father despite having granted her a visa.


The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs & International Trade (37th Parliament, 2nd session) called upon Chinese govt. to release Dr Wang Bingzhang from prison.

Known Health Situation

His health seems to be have deteriorated due to lower food quality, harsher physical abuse. Wang is kept under solitary confinement and suffers from phlebitis and respiratory problems.

Proposed Questions to ask

To release unconditionally

Case Represents?

Democratic Rights

Websites to visit in compiling info on this case

http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=4650

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Bingzhang


Case well-known?

Yes.


Case Card 2


Name of Individual

Liu Xiaobo

Present Location

Jinzhou prison in Liaoning province

Age; Sex; Ethnicity

28 Dec 1955’ Male, Han

Occupation

Writer, Past President of Chinese PEN Center

Key Dates

Sentenced on Dec 25, 2009, Received 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

Sentence

11 years sentence

Charges

Suspicion of inciting to subvert State Power

Additional Details / Background

Dr Liu Xiaobo, prominent Chinese scholar, and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”. The Beijing Municipal No 1 Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him on 25 December 2009, after a two-hour trial on 23 December 2009, based on writing six articles distributed on websites hosted outside mainland China between 2005 and 2007 and devising Charter 08, soliciting signatures to it and publishing it online. His wife, Liu Xia, a poet and artist, is under illegal house arrest in Beijing. They are human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience.

Known Health Situation


Proposed Questions to ask

To release unconditionally

Case Represents?

Suppression of freedom of expression

Websites to visit in compiling info on this case

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/chinas-lonely-heretic/story-0-1225745367751

Case well-known?

yes


Case Card 3


Name of Individual

Dhondup Wanchen

Present Location

Being held at Xichuan prison in Yining (Qinghai Province)

Year of Birth; Sex; Ethnicity

!7 October 1974, Male, Tibetan

Occupation

Tibetan Film Maker

Key Dates

Arrested in July 2008

Sentence

Six years imprisonment in Dec 2009

Charges

inciting separatism’

Additional Details / Background

Dhondup Wangchen is a Tibetan film-maker who was arrested in March 2008. He had just completed filming an extensive series of interviews with ordinary Tibetans who had bravely voiced to camera their true feelings on the upcoming Beijing Olympics and the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Those interviews were smuggled out of Tibet at great risk and have been made into a remarkable film, Leaving Fear Behind, which has been seen screened in more than 30 countries and which was secretly shown to journalists on the eve of the Beijing Olympics last year. 

Dhondup Wangchen has been tortured while in prison and he has also been denied access to medical treatment for Hepatitis B from which he is suffering.

An open letter signed by members of Canada’s documentary film industry to Chinese President Hu Jintao was released in support of imprisoned Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen. The letter is signed by producers, filmmakers, directors, stunt coordinators, make-up artists and includes Emmy, Genie, Gemini and Jutra nominees and award winners.

Leaving Fear Behind reveals with stark clarity that Tibetans are frustrated and embittered by the deterioration and marginalization of Tibetan language and culture; the destruction of the lifestyle of Tibetan nomads through Chinese forced settlement policies; the lack of religious freedom and the vilification of the Dalai Lama; and the broken promises made by the Chinese government to improve conditions in Tibet in the run up to the Olympic Games.

 

To date, Dhondup’s film has been shown in over 30 countries worldwide and further translated into many foreign languages including French, Spanish, German, Polish, Hungarian, Japanese and Chinese.


Known Health Situation

Suffers from Hepatitis B; has been denied access to medical treatment

Proposed Questions to ask

Release unconditionally and be allowed complete freedom of expression

Case Represents?

Suppression of freedom of expression

Websites to visit in compiling info on this case

http://freetibetanheroes.org/hero-profiles/dhondup-wangchen/

www.leavingfearbehind.com

Case well-known?

Well known




Case Card 4


Name of Individual

Wang, Zhiwen 王治文

Present Location

Qianjin Prison at Chadian, Tianjin City; now officially called the Qianjin Prison of the Beijing Qinghe Prison Administration Division.

Age; Sex; Ethnicity

62 year old (b 1949); Male; Han Chinese

Occupation

Engineer, former official with a company under the Ministry of Railways

Key Dates

Arrested on July 20, 1999

Sentenced to 16 years imprisonment on December 26, 1999

Sentence

Sentenced to 16 years imprisonment via a show trial which took place secretly without outside legal representation.

Charges

Illegally charged "organizing a cult to undermine the implementation of laws,"

Additional Details / Background

According to Dui Hua, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, and Falun Gong sources, Wang Zhiwen, a Falun Gong practitioner and railroad engineer, was arrested and tried in 1999 along with Li Chang and Ji Liewu, after their participation in the peaceful silent protest on April 25, 1999 outside Zhongnanhai, the Beijing headquarters for senior Party officials. Participants peacefully protested the arrest of Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin who had demonstrated against official criticism of Falun Gong and the harassment of individuals associated with it. On December 26, 1999 Wang was sentenced by the Beijing Number One Intermediate People’s Court to 16 years in prison on charges of causing human deaths in the process of organizing and using a heretical sect, illegal acquisition and possession of state secrets, and obstructing justice. His sentence at the Qianjin Prison in Chadian, Tianjin is scheduled to end on October 18, 2015. His daughter Daniell (Xiaodan) Wang, was a student from the University of Texas.

Known Health Situation

Very healthy before the arrest.

Proposed Questions to ask

His health situation. Demand release unconditionally.

Case Represents?

Show trial & China’s contempt of rule of law as described by reports from HRW.

Websites to visit in compiling info on this case

1. AI: PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA - Falun Gong practitioners: list of sentences, administrative sentences and those detained

http://www.web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/index/ASA170122000

2. Summary from the Global Rescue Net

http://www.globalrescue.net/unproj/fam/showcat.jsp?cid=7#2

3. Feature report of rescue

http://www.nj-falundafa.org/Files/Upload_files/Rescue/rescue-XiaodanWang.pdf

4. Falun Dafa Info. Center

http://www.faluninfo.net/rescuezhiwenwang/index.asp

5.More info

http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=2191

Case well-known?

The case is very well-know internationally, and intensively reported on many media & human rights organizations.

Case Card 5


Name of Individual

Nurmuhemmet Yasin 努力默赫默德. 亚森

 

Pen Name is Orkishi in Uyghur

Present Location

XUAR No. 1 Prison, Urumchi

Year of Birth; Sex; Ethnicity

Born in 1974, in Maralbeshi, Male, Uyghur

Occupation

Writer, Teacher

Key Dates

Nov 2004 arrested, and Feb, sentenced for 10 years in Jan 2005

Sentence

10 years

Charges

Inciting separatism

Additional Details / Background

A Uighur poet and prose writer from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, was arrested in late 2004 and sentenced to a ten-year term by the Kashgar Intermediate Court on February 2, 2005 for publishing a story allegedly “inciting separatism.” The trial was closed. “The Wild Pigeon,” published in the Kashgar Literature Journal tells of a blue pigeon who is locked up by differently colored pigeons when he returns from his travels. Rather than remain imprisoned, the pigeon commits suicide. The Kashgar Intermediate People’s Court upheld Yasin’s sentence on appeal on March 17, 2005.

Known Health Situation

Unknown

Proposed Questions to ask

To release unconditionally

Case Represents?

Freedom of speech

Websites to visit in compiling info on this case

http://ppd.cecc.gov/QueryResultsDetail.aspx?PrisonerNum=5511

http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/765/prmID/174

For his work:

www.uyghurcanadian.org

http://www.rfa.org/english/uyghur/wild_pigeon2-20050627.html

Case well-known?


Yes


 

 


Case Card 6


Name of Individual

Gao Zhisheng 高智晟

Present Location


Age; Sex; Ethnicity

45 years old (b. 1966), male, Han

Occupation

lawyer

Key Dates

Detained on Jan 19,2009; Disappeared on February 4,2009. Being held in prison in Xinjiang province

Sentence

His 5 year suspended sentence expired in August 2011 .

Charges

He was convicted on December 22,2009 for “inciting subversion of state power”.

Additional Details / Background

Gao Zhisheng, founder of the Beijing Shengzhi Law Firm, has represented numerous activists, religious leaders, and writers, including legal advocate Guo Feixiong, Shanghai lawyer Guo Guoting, Internet author Zheng Yichun, the wife of house church pastor Cai Zhuohua, and democracy activist Xu Wanping. On October 18, 2005,

Communiqués de presse

Bureau National du CCT 1425, boul. René-Lévesque Ouest, 3e étage, Montréal (Québec) H3G 1T7 Canada
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Développé par plank