Release Non-Violent Human Rights Activists

Jonah M. Kessel for the New York Times
Xiao Qinshan, a freedom of speech advocate from Shenzhen screams from his wheelchair in front of the Nanfang Media Group compound in Guangzhou, China, Tuesday, January 8, 2013.

Target: President of China Xi Jinping

Goal: Release non-violent human rights activists from prison and drop all charges against them.

The Chinese government is trying human rights activists Tang Jingling, Yuan Xinting, and Wang Qingying for allegedly “inciting subversion,” a charge that can result in up to 15 years in prison if convicted. According to their indictment, their crimes include “publicly inciting others to participate in non-violent civil disobedience movement.” According to Human Rights Watch, this indictment “characterizes Tang’s, Yuan’s, and Wang’s distribution and discussion with others’ publications on ending dictatorships through peaceful means, as well as publicizing these ideas.”

The Chinese government has an extremely broad interpretation of what constitutes subversion and this directly conflicts in China’s Constitution which guarantees that citizens have the right to freedom of expression. Furthermore, there are concerns about the precedent that would be set if the three activists are not released. The Chinese Director of Human Rights Watch feels that “Trials like these send a clear signal to all they should not expect a fair trial, but rather harsh retaliation for peaceful activism.”

The detainees have been subjected to wearing handcuffs and leg irons for weeks and have been beaten by guards. Disturbingly, the activists have had many of their rights violated, including being denied the right to speak with their families as well as not being allowed to meet with their lawyers.

It is extremely important that the activists are released and not charged with a crime as it may set a precedent for how activists are treated in China. People deserve to voice their concerns without fear of being persecuted. Sign this petition to show solidarity for the activists and all those who are brave enough to speak out against an unjust government.


Dear President Xi Jinping,

I am writing this letter to urge you to release non-violent human rights activists Tang Jingling, Yuan Xinting, and Wang Qingying for their alleged incitement of subversion. As you know, the Chinese government has a very broad interpretation of what constitutes the right to freedom of expression. Therefore, I believe it may be in violation of the activists’ rights to be held for subversion.

Furthermore, the activists’ rights have been violated numerous times while imprisoned, further justifying their need to be released. They have been denied the right to speak with their families and denied the right to speak to their lawyers numerous times. I feel that it is important that activists are released and not charged with a crime because I fear that it may set a dangerous precedent for the way citizens are treated when they voice their opinions to their government.

I urge you to make the right decision by releasing these activists so that the citizens of China will feel safe to act on their right of free speech.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jonah Kessel Blog

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