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Charter 08

On the eve of 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declarationof Human Rights, more than 300 scholars, journalists, freelance writers andactivists in Mainland China,signed Charter 08 (Chinese version and English Version)  which called for universal Human Rights and promoteddemocracy. Many human rights defenders launched 60th Anniversary of theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights campaigns around Mainland China.Some participants of the activities above were arrested and harassed by ChineseCommunist Party-regime (the CCP).


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FW: Here is the report from CHRD below


Chinese Government Responds with a Crackdown on Activistsfor Commemorating 60th Anniversary of UDHR (Chinese Human Rights Defenders, December 9, 2008)


On the eve of the 60thAnniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)and of Human Rights Day, a number of Chinese citizens have been detained, interrogatedand harassed as they prepared to commemorate the day.


Activists issued an open letter calling on the NationalPeople's Congress Standing Committee to ratify the International Covenant ofCivil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and also launched Charter 08, demanding boldpolitical reforms that promote human rights and democracy and articulatingprinciples for a platform of citizens' actions.


Civil Society Calls for Human Rights and Democracy on Eve ofUDHR Anniversary


CHRD issued a public letter today calling on the NationalPeople's Congress Standing Committee to ratify the ICCPR, which China signedmore than ten years ago on October 5, 1998. As part of the ratification process,CHRD urges the government to review its laws and administrative regulations andabolish or amend those provisions that violate civil and political rights.


A group of Chinese citizens launched Charter 08 (零八宪章) today, a declaration that outlines a vision for aconstitutional democratic China and initiates a platform for citizens' actions.Charter 08 calls for bold political reforms, including an end to one-party ruleand replacement of the current political system with one based on human rightsand democracy. Charter 08 was signed not only by well-known dissidents andintellectuals but also by officials and rural leaders. The signatories willform an informal and open group to promote democratization and advance humanrights in China.Charter 08, assisted by CHRD, was inspired by Czechoslovakia's Charter 77 inwhich Czech and Slovak citizens espoused similar ideals for their country.


Harassment and Intimidation of Activists


Meanwhile, police have detained, interrogated and harassedactivists to prevent them from participating in activities that commemorate the60th anniversary of UDHR.  


On the evening of December 8, Zhang Zuhua (张祖桦) and Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), signatoriesof Charter 08 and prominent dissident intellectuals, were taken from theirhomes and interrogated by the police. During interrogation, police cut offtheir communication with the outside world. Police from the Beijing PublicSecurity Bureau (PSB) and the Ministry of State Security questioned Zhang onhis activities defending human rights, including his involvement with Charter 08.Zhang returned home at 11 a.m. this morning and learned that the police hadsearched his home and confiscated his cash, credit cards, computers, notebooks,books and passport.  Liu is still beingdetained by the police. According to Liu's family, police also searched hishome and confiscated his computers.


On December 4, Chen Xi (陈西), ShenYounian (申有年) and Du Heping (杜和平), human rights activists based in Guiyang City, GuizhouProvince were taken from their homes and detained at an unknown location in theGuiyang suburbs. On December 4, Chen's wife received a phone call from theNational Security police under Guiyang PSB. The police told Chen's wife thatthey were holding Chen at an inn. On December 5, Huang Yanming (黄燕明), another Guiyang-based activist, received a text messagefrom Du stating that he would not be released until after December 10. The Guizhou activists hadplanned to organize the Fourth Guizhou Citizens' Forum on Human Rights onDecember 10. The police had repeatedly warned them against marking theanniversary and told them that the event was "illegal".


On December 4, Wen Kejian (温克坚), an outspoken Hangzhou-based writer, was barred at theShenzhen border from leaving for Hong Kong on a business trip. After hereturned to Hangzhou,he was questioned by police for hours on December 6. Police indicated that Wenhad been barred from leaving the mainland in retaliation for his signing ofCharter 08. He was warned to stay clear of related activities and not toventure outside of the city.


Several other activists who signed the Charter have alsobeen questioned in the past several days.


Chinese Human Rights Defenders condemns the harassment andpersecution of activists solely for their peaceful activities in commemorationof the 60th Anniversary of the UDHR and International Human Rights Day. Thecrackdown on human rights activists, being directly related to the anniversary,demonstrates contempt towards international human rights norms and insincerityin the government's own pledges and commitments to promote human rights in China.

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