Urgent Appeal Calling for Release of Chen GuangchengComments Off on Urgent Appeal Calling for Release of Chen Guangcheng
For immediate release
July 14, 2006
With trial of Chen Guangcheng imminent, activists issue urgent appeal calling for his immediate release and for launch of investigation into illegal acts committed in Linyi City
In an urgent petition issued on July 13, 2006, independent groups and individuals, including a number of prominent lawyers, call on authorities of the central and Shandong provincial governments responsible for the implementation of the law to take immediate action to remedy the gross violations in Linyi City of human rights and national law. These violations include the extensive violence and arbitrary detention employed by Linyi authorities in implementing the birth planning policy in 2004-2005, as documented by Chen Guangcheng and others, and the subsequent persecution of Chen and his supporters, culminating in his imminent trial.
The four-page petition (see appended Chinese text) is addressed to the standing committees of the National People’s Congress and the Shandong Provincial People’s Congress, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Shandong People’s Procuratorate, the Central Discipline Inspection Commission and the Shandong Discipline Inspection Department.
The petition reiterates how, with the assistance of his wife, Yuan Weijing, Chen Guangcheng, a barefoot lawyer who is blind and has long been involved in human rights activities, began to investigate the violence perpetrated on local women and their families in the name of meeting birth planning quotas in his native Linyi in early 2005. Lawyers and independent scholars from outside the area also verified these claims. Efforts were made to bring legal action against local authorities for related violations of national law. Information on the extensive violations was also published in international media and on the Internet, including in a report by CRD issued in June 2005. Eventually the State Family Planning Commission conducted its own investigation. The Commission admitted publicly that officials had violated the law and that disciplinary action was being taken.
The petition continues by documenting how, for his role in exposing this wrongdoing, since August 2005, Chen Guangcheng has been subjected to persecution that has included a series of arbitrary and illegal detentions as well as several beatings and even death threats, in clear violation of national law and international human rights norms. Chen’s family and supporters have also been subjected to violence and arbitrary detention. Chen is now facing trial on trumped up charges that are clearly nothing but retribution for his human rights work.
The petition calls on the various national and provincial government bodies to take action within the scope of their legal responsibilities to uphold the sanctity of the rule of law by investigating events in Linyi and taking relevant action to hold those responsible to account and to remedy the violations committed against Chen Guangcheng and others. In particular, it calls on the NPC Standing Committee to exercise its power under Art. 71 of the PRC Constitution and set up a special commission of enquiry into the violations in Linyi.
The petition-drive is coordinated by the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CRD). The petition is endorsed by People’s Livelihood Watch ( Min sheng guan cha) and the Empowerment and Rights Institute (EARI) and prominent individuals including Li Baiguang (legal scholar), Teng Biao (lawyer), Zhang Zuhua (scholar), Ai Xiaoming (profession), Zhao Dagong (writer), Liu Zhengyou (rural activist), Wang Zhijing (writer), Jiang Tianyong (lawyer), Du Daobin (writer), and Wan Yanhai (AIDS activist). It includes as an appendix a list of names of officials suspected of having been involved in violations of law in the above mentioned cases.
Full text of the petition in Chinese:
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