Target: Members of the Chinese Communist Party
Goal: Condemn China for barring activists from participating in UN human rights review hearing.
A review of each country’s human rights record is taken every four years, called the Universal Periodic Review. The United Nations encourages public participation and consultation during this review. However, China has been barring activists from attending by arbitrarily arresting them. Cao Shunli, a Beijing human rights activist, has “disappeared” after being arrested and interrogated at the airport. On the same day, Chen Jianfang, a Guangdong rights activist, was intercepted by the police at the Guangzhou’s Baiyun airport. Both of these women were on route to a training course in Geneva in preparation for their testimonies on human rights violations in China. For years, they have been advocating for transparency in the human rights review process. They have been harassed, threatened, and jailed on numerous occasions for their activism. Human Rights Watch’s China director, Sophie Richardson, said China’s actions were “eroding the integrity of the UN’s top human rights review process.”
These are not isolated incidents. Many other activists, hoping to give their input in the review process, have been denied passports or stopped at airports. Since February of 2013, the Chinese government has detained 56 activists. Many are sent to human labor camps for “reeducation.” The government claims that broad public input was encouraged, and civilians may participate by filing a report to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, a request to release details of public input in the drafting of the review report was rejected, because the review process was considered “state secrets.” This is an underhanded method China continues to use to downplay their egregious human rights violations.
The irony of the situation is China is currently seeking a seat in the Human Rights Council, yet it continues to systemically suppress dissent and violate basic human rights. If they are granted a seat to the council it would be a mockery of the international system. Please sign this petition to condemn the Chinese Communist Party for obstructing activists from contributing to a more transparent human rights report.
Dear Members of the Chinese Communist Party,
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) both recognize freedom of speech as a basic human right. The extreme surveillance and censorship imposed on your citizens in order to silence activists and critics does not help your bid for a seat in the Human Rights Council. Knee jerk reactions to the slightest criticism show how insecure your government is. Your actions will continue to erode your legitimacy as the ruling party of China.
The international community will continue to perceive you as a pariah state, and your input on human rights will have zero clout. This behavior is unacceptable for a rising great power, and it sets a bad example for developing countries. Please allow activists to testify in Geneva, and stop these arbitrary arrests. Otherwise your human rights report will only be seen as a government manipulated and falsified document.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: mickeylieu via Flickr