Target: Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
Goal: Stop the Chinese government from arresting activists that seek only to gain the rights promised by their own constitution
Despite reformist rhetoric and talk of upholding the laws and constitution of China, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China has allowed the arrests of dozens of citizens seeking only to abide by these ideas. Recently, China has concentrated efforts on detaining docile activists who advocate working within the Chinese political system to improve individual rights, citing absurd reasons such as “assembling a crowd to disturb public order.” These activists are trying to comply with the law, and yet they are being locked up for it.
The Chinese Constitution promises rights to its citizens such as freedom of speech, assembly, and the press. However, none of these rights are exercised in China without consequence, as exemplified by the arrest of Xu Zhiyong, a prominent member of a newly founded activist group called the New Citizens. While other protestors can be overtly outspoken against the Chinese government, Xu is a compliant law professor who is willing to work within the legal and political system already in place. His arrest sent a message to fellow activists, and was followed by the arrest of several others demanding the human rights bestowed by the constitution.
Since the beginning of 2013, about forty members of the New Citizens have been arrested. The New Citizens’ message is simple: promote principles of conscience, duty, democracy, and the rule of law. From his prison cell, Xu demands fairness and justice for his fellow citizens and stresses the importance of working together to make their rights and identities as Chinese citizens matter to their government.
These activists are being unfairly rounded up and detained. They are not employing slanderous tactics or violence to enact change. They are peaceful and willing to work within the current legal system. Demand that the Chinese government stop arresting peaceful activists and release those they already have in detention.
Dear President Xi Jinping,
Recently your government has been rounding up and detaining activists who are demanding the rights bestowed upon them by your constitution. They have not be slanderous, violent, or dissident, yet because your government is threatened by their message of fairness and justice, your policemen have arrested them.
Your citizens are only asking for the government to uphold the laws and constitutional rights that it has written. To detain them based on this demand is to confirm that your government does not give its people the rights it has promised. Stop arresting innocent citizens, and release those who are already in detention for supporting this idea.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Al Jazeera English via Google Images