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Human Rights in China condemns charges against Wei Jingsheng; calls for strong response from international community

Press release from Human Rights in China (HRIC), 21 November 1995

Human Rights in China (HRIC) is shocked to hear that China's most prominent democracy advocate, Wei Jingsheng, is now facing a second prosecution for counterrevolutionary crimes for engaging in activities in [an] attempt to overthrow the Chinese government. Wei, 44, has already spent over 14 and a half years in prison for counterrevolutionary crimes and has now been in incommunicado detention, in violation of Chinese law, for 19 months. After Wei's September 1993 release, which was part of China's effort to win the 2000 Olympic Games, he continued to insist on his right to express his opinions freely, despite constant police harassment and intimidation and serious health problems. Wei's courage was an inspiration to many human rights and democracy activists within China. He has repeatedly stated his commitment to peaceful, public efforts to bring about change and the charge that he was attempting to overthrow the government is absurd.

HRIC believes that the new charges against Wei Jingsheng are transparently political in nature and thus a flagrant violation of international human rights standards. They are part of an on-going effort by the Chinese authorities to stifle all independent activism, in defiance of the international community's concerns. We call on the Chinese government to withdraw the charges immediately and release Wei Jingsheng. We appeal to the international community to respond with a strong condemnation of this action.

It is interesting to note that the charges against Wei were made public in the month following the Nobel Committee's announcement of this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner. Wei had been nominated for the prize, and was thought to be a strong contender for it.