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An Open Letter to Chinese Authorities Regarding the Recent Detention of Citizens including Zhao Changqing and Ding Jiaxi

April 19th, 2013

Mr. Xi Jingping, President of the People’s Republic of China,

Mr. Meng Jianzhu, State Councilor of the People’s Republic of China,

Mr. Guo Shengkun, Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China,

Mr. Fu Zhenghua, Chief of Beijing Public Security Bureau:

At a time when all walks of life in China are still interpreting President’s Xi Jingping’s new concept of “the China Dream” with greatest goodwill, we are shocked to hear that the Beijing Public Security Bureau has criminally detained ten citizens with absurd excuses. They are Zhao Changqing (赵常), Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), Sun Huihan (孙含会), Yuan Dong (袁冬), Zhang Baocheng (张宝成), Hou Xin (侯欣), Ma Xinli (马新立), Wang Yonghong (王永红) and Li Wei (李蔚). Anyone can tell, that their real “crime” is nothing but demanding wealth disclosure by government officials.

What Zhao Changqing, Ding Jiaxi and their fellow citizens demand is what all Chinese people demand. Asset disclosure by government officials is a common practice in all civilized nations, and an instrumental measure in preventing bureaucratic corruption. It is in line with President Xi’s “China Dream”, which calls for implementation of the Constitution and the revival of the Chinese nation. Their words and deeds are not only exercises of their civil rights, as guaranteed by Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, but also embody the most rare and valuable civic spirit. If you truly intend to realize the China Dream, people like Zhao Changqing and Ding Jiaxi should be honored as model citizens, instead of being persecuted.

In China today, millions of government officials are greedy and corrupted. Violations of citizen’s rights are a common occurrence.  A mass protest happens every three minutes on average. When you came into power, you have chosen to carry on the stability-maintenance mechanism that your predecessors created. You continue to monitor and suppress your own people as if they were enemies and have successfully turned them into “enemies”. Many people have become opponents of the government and China’s political system, such as dissidents, independent intellectuals, rights-defense lawyers, farmers whose lands were taken from them, victims of forced demolition, victims of forced abortion, veterans, workers who were laid off, Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, Christians, Falungong practitioners and even many retired party cadres.

Commenting on Mikhail Gorbachev’s dissolution of the Soviet Communist Party, President Xi recently famously said “A Party of such a size, there were no men (to resist).” When we look at the grave reality in China today, we can’t help but make a similar comment. There are no men in China’s top leadership to take up the historic responsibility and introduce fundamental political changes in China. There are no men in the leadership who truly care about the welfare of millions of Chinese people. On the other hand, true men or women who fight for a better China are either imprisoned or forced into exile, including Zhao Changqing (赵常青), Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), Sun Hanhui (孙含会), Yuan Dong (袁冬), Zhang Baocheng (张宝成), Hou Xin (侯欣), Ma Xinli (马新立), Wang Yonghong (王永红), Li Wei (李蔚), Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), Gao Zhisheng (高智晟), Wang Binzhang (王炳章), Yang Tianshui (杨天水), Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌), Chen Wei (陈卫), Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫), Chen Xi (陈昕) and Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚). So, please tell us gentlemen, how are you going to revive the Chinese nation?

We sincerely hope that the arrests of these ten citizens are simply mistakes made by low-level police, who continued the past practice out of habit. If that is the case, please do what is required by your position and by the laws in China. Please release them immediately and apologize for your mistakes. It will be the first step of positive interaction between the government and the civil society. You will gain people’s trust and make the most out of a simple mistake.

However, if you have endorsed the arrests of these wonderful citizens, Initiative for China, along with many other human rights organizations throughout the world, will get to the bottom of this issue.  This will be the first case of human rights violation under the new leadership of the Chinese government. We will file a complaint with the United Nations’ human rights bodies and urge the international community to sanction the perpetrators.

Initiatives for China/Citizen Power for China

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