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
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
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.