Posts Tagged ‘Charter 08’

Chinese activist Liu Xiabao’s appeal rejected

February 11, 2010
Al Jazeera, Feb 11, 2010
Liu Xiabao, left, had co-authored a political paper calling for sweeping reforms [AFP]

A Chinese court has rejected a prominent dissident’s appeal against his 11-year jail term for subversion.

The appeal by Liu Xiaobo, a writer and a former university professor, was turned down after a brief legal hearing in Beijing.

Liu, 54, was first detained in December 2008 after co-authoring a bold manifesto known as Charter 08, which called for sweeping political reform in China and an end to Communist Party dominance.

He was sentenced on December 25 last year on a charge of incitement to subvert state power.

Liu previously spent 20 months in jail for joining the 1989 Tiananmen Sqaure protests, which ended when the government called in the military, killing an unconfirmed number of demonstrators.

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Human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng goes missing after being detained

January 25, 2010

Policeman said Gao Zhisheng, a fierce critic of the government, had ‘lost his way’

Jonathan Watts in Beijing, The Guardian/UK, January 15, 2010

Chinese human rights lawyer Gao ZhishengGao Zhisheng had testified that he was tortured and threatened with death during a previous detention. Photograph: Verna Yu/AFP

Fears are growing for the Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng after his brother said police admitted he “went missing” in September, seven months after being taken into detention.

The firebrand critic of the Communist party has been repeatedly detained by public security agents and has testified that he was tortured and threatened with death. Gao disappeared from his hometown in Shaanxi province on 4 February last year. His family told reporters and human rights groups at the time that he was whisked away by local police and security agents from Beijing.

Since then, his whereabouts have been a mystery, but this week his brother told Associated Press that he had received new and disturbing information from one of the policemen who took Gao away.

Gao Zhyi said the policeman told him that Gao Zhisheng “lost his way and went missing” on 25 September.

The authorities refuse to comment on the case. The ministry of justice asked for faxed questions but did not reply to them. Similar requests for information from Beijing’s Public Security Bureau have been met with silence.

Human rights groups said they were alarmed and called on foreign governments and journalists to press for an explanation of how Gao went missing during his captivity.

Roseann Rife of Amnesty International said everybody should be asking the Chinese authorities where Gao Zhisheng was. “We have been very concerned since last February because there are reports in his own hand about how he was treated in custody last time, when it seemed he was near death.”

Mo Shaoping, a lawyer who was prevented from representing Gao during an earlier trial, said the situation was abnormal.

“If he ran away from a detention centre or died there, the legal responsibility of the authorities is unavoidable. If police told Gao’s relative that he is missing, they have an obligation to find him.”

China‘s security apparatus often detains rights activists and lawyers without explanation or public comment, but the duration of Gao’s disappearance and his testimonies about past treatment have raised concerns.

After a detention in 2007 he wrote an open letter – made public last year – that claimed guards used electric batons on his genitals, burned his eyes with cigarettes and shouted “kill the bastard”. He said they threatened to kill him if he told anyone about his treatment.

Despite constant surveillance and death threats, Gao was arguably fiercer and more confrontational in his criticism of the Communist party than any other activist.

In a previous interview with the Guardian, the former soldier and coal miner said he felt protected because there would be an international outcry if anything happened to him.

“They threaten to arrest me and I say, ‘Go ahead’. I am a warrior who does not care whether I live or die. Such a sacrifice will be nothing to me if it speeds the death of this dictatorship,” he said.

That was two years before the Olympics, when several other prominent activists said they felt protected by international exposure. Since then at least two of them have been imprisoned. Hu Jia was sentenced to three and half years in 2008 and Liu Xiaobo was given 11 years by a court last month.

Chinese censors block information about such cases. Local media are forbidden to report on Gao Zhisheng and a Wikipedia entry about him is blocked.

The crackdown on critical voices continues. This week police detained Zhao Shiying, who signed up to the Charter 08 call for political reform.

Two human rights lawyers revealed that their email accounts had been targeted soon after Google announced that it was reconsidering its presence in China because its database was hacked for information about activists.

International outcry after Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo sentenced to 11 years

December 26, 2009
Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia in Beijing

(AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia in Beijing

Jane Macartney, China Correspondent, The Times/UK, Dec 26, 2009

China meted out its harshest punishment for subversion in two decades yesterday, sentencing the country’s leading dissident to 11 years in jail in a verdict that provoked international condemnation.

Liu Xiaobo, who organised a petition calling for political freedoms, stood silently in the No 1 Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing to hear the judge declare him guilty of “inciting subversion of state power”.

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Chinese police hunt authors of democracy charter

January 6, 2009

January 6, 2009

Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia

(AFP/Getty Images)

Liu Xiaobo, with his wife Liu Xia, has been in detention since December 8

Chinese police have begun questioning writers, artists and intellectuals who dared to sign a new charter demanding political reforms. It is a move that sets the mood for the year in which the Communist Party will mark the 60th anniversary of its rule.

From across China, reports are emerging of officials and even police calling in some of the 303 people who put their names to Charter 08, a document calling for greater civil rights and an end to the political dominance of the Communist Party.

The co-author, the literary critic Liu Xiaobo, has been in detention since December 8, the day before the bold manifesto was published online.

Another signatory, Xu Youyu, a professor of philosophy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has written an open letter describing how he was notified by his superiors that the charter was “nonsense” and he should retract his signature. He refused.

Other signatories have been questioned but declined to be identified for fear of reprisals. One source told The Times: “People are being called in and questioned about who organised the manifesto and whether they had signed in person. We hear that the leaders at the top have decided that they cannot tolerate Charter 08.”

The interrogations had, so far, been mostly polite, he said. The aim appeared to be to identify the organisers.

Mr Liu, 53, one of four leading intellectuals who joined the student protesters in Tiananmen Square as they demanded greater democracy in 1989, was detained almost a month ago for his role in putting together the manifesto. His wife, Liu Xia, was allowed to visit him on New Year’s Day at a secret location outside Beijing. A source close to the family said: “She was not allowed to see where she was taken and Liu Xiaobo didn’t know where he was being held. He is being taken care of and is well fed but he undergoes interrogation every day.”

The source said that Mr Liu, who has spent several years either serving a jail sentence or in detention, was in good spirits but was allowed no access to books, television or newspapers. “He could not tell his wife very much, because the police were present throughout their two-hour meeting and lunch together.”

Mr Liu’s lawyer, Mo Shaoping, said that he was being held under a form of house arrest called residential surveillance but legal procedure had been violated because Mr Liu had been removed from his home. Residential surveillance can last for up to six months, and renewal is possible. That means Mr Liu could be held until after the sensitive 20th anniversary of the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square protest.

Among the signatories to Charter 08 is the former top party official Bao Tong, who put his name to the document describing himself as “a citizen”. In an essay written from his Beijing home, he wrote: “Would the powers that be please tell 1.3 billion people why freedom is a crime?” Mr Bao was jailed for seven years after the 1989 crackdown and lives under close surveillance.

Charter 08: the demands

China . . . must divest itself of the authoritarian notion of reliance on an “enlightened overlord” or an “honest official”

Must “turn toward a system of liberties, democracy, and the rule of law”

Charter calls for 19 points of change, including rights to freedom of expression and assembly; the separation of powers of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government; election of public servants; and a guarantee of human rights

China urged to release scholar Liu Xiaobo

December 24, 2008

Liu Xiaobo has been detained for over two weeks

Liu Xiaobo has been detained for over two weeks

© Private

Amnesty International, 23 December 2008

After more than 14 days in detention it now appears that Chinese authorities intend to seriously prosecute the dissident literary scholar, Liu Xiaobo, for signing up to a campaign for political and rights reform.

Liu Xiaobo has been detained for over two weeks without the Chinese authorities releasing information about his arrest. Anyone held for longer than 14 days without formal arrest is considered a “major suspect” by Chinese criminal procedure law.

Charter 08, initially signed by approximately 300 Chinese scholars, lawyers and officials, proposes a blueprint for fundamental legal and political reform in China, with the goal of a democratic system that respects human rights. Since the Charter 08 launch, Chinese authorities have questioned and harassed numerous signatories, but Liu Xiaobo remains the only known signatory in detention.

Amnesty International has urged China’s authorities to release Liu Xiaobo immediately. Liu Xiaobo is one of China’s best-known dissidents. He was arbitrarily detained twice previously for his writings and his support of the 1989 pro-democracy movement in Beijing, when he spent several years in detention.

“If Liu Xiaobo is to ultimately be charged with state security crimes, it would be yet another example of how Chinese authorities are using the criminal law to squash pleas for reform,” said Roseann Rife, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Programme.

Chinese authorities seized Liu Xiaobo at his home in Beijing on 8 December, two days before the Charter 08 planned launch, which was timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Amnesty International has called on the authorities to make public any information about his alleged crimes, the charges against him and his current whereabouts. Liu Xiaobo should also be allowed full access to legal counsel of his choice.

The police failed to give Liu Xiaobo’s family information about where he was detained or to provide a detention notice within 24 hours. These are both violations of the Criminal Procedure Law and the public security regulation regarding the procedures for handling criminal cases. Liu’s family-appointed lawyer has been unable to speak with Liu Xiaobo.

“The Chinese authorities must stop the ongoing harassment, detention, prosecution and imprisonment of Chinese human rights defenders and activists who peacefully exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and association,” said Roseann Rife. “We urge that that they free Liu Xiaobo immediately.”

Read More

Online petition for release of Liu Xiaobo

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