Thousands of Petitioners Demand the 17th Party Congress to Improve Human RightsComments Off on Thousands of Petitioners Demand the 17th Party Congress to Improve Human Rights
Thousands of Petitioners Demand the 17th Party Congress to Improve Human Rights
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, October 8, 2007) – On October 8, a letter with the signatures of 12,150 petitioners from China‘s thirty provinces (except Tibet) was sent to the Chinese Communist Party leaders. In the letter, made public today, petitioners demand the 17th Communist Party Congress to open up for political/legal reforms including, specifically, protecting basic rights such as freedom of expression, press, association, etc., as these are guaranteed in the Chinese Constitution; establishing a Constitutional Court to review the constitutionality of national and local laws and regulations; abolishing the Re-Education Through Labour system; and immediately ending the persecution of petitioners including their interception and detention, and releasing all petitioners currently detained, imprisoned or sent to Reform Through Labour camps and psychiatric institutions.
The letter also addresses a number of related problems, such as those concerning land appropriation, discharged soldiers without fair job opportunities or benefits, corrupt privatization of state enterprises, unfair judiciary which has failed to protect people’s basic rights, and the petitioning system which exacerbates rather than addresses mounting social grievances.
Petitioning, or shang fang, is a residue Chinese complaining system from the era of rule by government administrators, not by law: Ordinary citizens write to, call or visit special government offices at higher levels, about their grievances in the hope that the latter will help them seek redress. However, petitioners are increasingly treated as troublemakers and they are intercepted, usually by representative of government officials from their cities or provinces, about whom they wish to complain, and then detained, intimidated, and returned to their hometowns.
Click here to read the original letter in Chinese.
Click here to read CHRD’s latest report on “black jails”, the illegal detention facilities in Beijing set up to detain petitioners.