Appeal for release of Zhao
Zhao Changqing was given a 5-year
prison sentence in
July for subverting state power by advocating democracy in his native China. JUST
Response urgently invites Hu Jintao (left),
President of the People's Republic of China, and Jiang Zemin, former
President and now Head of
the Central Military Commission, to release Zhao Changqing, comply with
his demands and recognise the basic human right of freedom of expression
for all who live in China
The good people of China
Request for: 1) the immediate release of Zhao Changqing; 2) compliance
with Zhao's demands;
the recognition of the basic human right of freedom of expression for all who
live in China.
We respectfully request your release of Zhao Changqing without further delay, your compliance with Zhao's democratic demands and the recognition of the basic human right of freedom of expression for all who live in China.
Zhao, 36, a history teacher and activist in the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, was arrested last November and charged with "attempted subversion of state power". Zhao, who has suffered from tuberculosis, had collected 192 signatures to support his demands for China to observe basic human rights and had sent the petition to the 16th Communist Party Congress.
He was tried behind closed doors at the Xian People's Court on July 10 of this year. When news of the verdict eventually reached the foreign press in early August, it was due to the commendable efforts of the US-based group, Human Rights in China (HRIC).
Zhao's demands call for:
Zhao has previously spent three terms in custody and three years in prison. His essay, "Reform the political system and take the path to democratisation", and his uncompromising stand in defending fellow-workers against corruption and substandard working conditions resulted in previous charges of "endangering state security".
HRIC president Liu Qing said: "This trial was just another form of intimidation through an unfair legal process. It is especially objectionable that a trial over an open letter was held in secret on the pretext of protecting state secrets."
Editor and Staff of JUST Response
NOTE: JUST Response published this appeal on 4 September 2003.