Our Mission – A peaceful transition to democratic governance in China
Initiatives for China is a grassroots movement dedicated to advancing a peaceful transition to democracy in China. Our movement is embedded with the belief that such a transition can only be achieved through structural reform of the current system of government that by its very nature denies universally recognized political and social rights to its citizens. Our movement further recognizes that such reform can only be driven by the citizens of China through the application of Gong Min Li Liang（公民力量 “Citizen power”） and through cooperative and unified action of the all the diverse peoples that are under the rule of the Chinese government.
What We Do – Promote programs that educate, empower, and unify the Citizens of China and democracy advocates around the world. Below are samples of activities that serve one or more elements of our mission:
- The Interethnic/Interfaith Leadership Conference. This unique forum promotes understanding, mutual respect and cooperation among the ethnic and religious groups of China. The Conference annually brings together Tibetan, Christian, Muslim, and Han Chinese leaders. Delegates from Taiwan, Macao, and Hong Kong also attend. The Conference agenda is designed allow delegates to explore their common goals and develop mutual trust, understanding, and cooperation. The Fifth Conference was held in Washington, DC on October 7-9, 2009. Among its highlights were: workshops on Internet Freedom and Non-Violent Action; A forum, hosted by the Heritage Foundation, on reducing interethnic tensions in China; and a audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet. This conference is funded in part by the National Endowment for Democracy.
- “Tokyo Airlift” Protest of Blacklisting (China and the rule of Law cross reference) Initiatives for China actively supports the activities of citizens who use non violent tactics to confront systematic abuse of abridgment of political rights. In November, 2009, famous human rights lawyer, Feng Zhenghu, protested refusal of the Chinese government to allow him to return to China, even though he is a Chinese citizen with a valid passport. This practice known as “blacklisting” is widely used by the Chinese government to exile and therefore silence people deemed to be politically incorrect. Feng held a sit in at Narita airport in Japan. He vowed to remain there until the Chinese government allowed him to return to China. Initiatives for China organized the “Tokyo Airlift” to bring supporters and supplies from as far away as Australia to help Feng. On February 3, the Chinese government relented and allow Feng to return to his home in Shanghai. This is the first time a person “Blacklisted” by the Chinese government was allowed to return to China.
- YiBao （議報） China E-Weekly Magazine. This online Chinese Language magazine provides a forum for Chinese citizens to write and comment on the social, political, and economic issues confronting China. It is widely recognized inside China as one of the most respected commentaries on social and political issues. An independent study commissioned by the National Endowment for democracy.
- “Sparrow Initiative” Against Forced Evictions. (China and the rule of law) New York University Professor and China Scholar, Jerome Cohen, described China as a “nation of laws without the rule of law.” The practice of forced evictions without citizen redress or compensation exemplifies this situation. Before the 2008 Olympics, Beijing authorities forcibly evicted over 300,000 residents to clear the way for “Olympic Beautification” projects. Beginning in 2005, Shanghai Authorities began the eviction of over 18000 families to clear land for the 2010 Shanghai Expo, which opened on May 1, 2010. A young mother, Hu Yan, fought the Chinese government for five years to get her home back. She finally came to the United States to bring her case to the UN. Dubbed “The Sparrow Initiative”, Initiatives for China is assisting Hu Yan in her effort for justice and to end this illegal activity that strips citizens of their homes and their dignity.
- Internet Freedom. Internet censorship and monitoring restricts the free flow of ideas and limits the ability to citizens to address government wrongdoing. Chinese president, Hu Jintao, has identified Internet censorship as “critical to the survival of the socialist state.” Initiatives for China recognizes Internet freedom as the critical path to the democratization of China. It has undertaken numerous actions to directly advance internet freedom. In March 10, 2010, Initiatives for China President attended the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy where he co-chaired the committee on Internet Freedom. (Click here to view Dr. Yang’s Speech in Geneva Summit)