Open Letter to European Parliament on the Case of Martin Jahnke
Subcommittee on Human RightsCommittee on Foreign AffairsEuropean ParliamentWe would like to draw your attention to the case of Martin Jahnke, a German doctoral student at the University of Cambridge, whose rights have been grossly violated. We urge the committee to pay close attention to his pre-trial review on 10 March at Cambridge Magistrates Court.The case is related to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s speech at Cambridge University on 2 February, in which Wen concealed the serious social problems created by the Chinese Communist Party, and failed to say a word on the human rights situation in China. Towards the end of the speech, Mr Jahnke stood up and demanded: ‘How can the University prostitute itself with this dictator? How can you listen to the lies he is telling?’ The pro-CCP Chinese students in the audience shouted ‘Shame on you! Get out!’, before Jahnke took off one of his shoes and threw it at the platform. The shoe fell to the ground a metre away from the speaker. Wen Jiabao criticized angrily into the microphone, describing the incident as ‘despicable’.Both the University authorities and the UK Prime Minister have expressed regret to the Chinese regime, explaining that the matter is in the hands of the police, but nonetheless the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry manifested strong dissatisfaction with the proceedings. Since then, Jahnke has been subject to internet violence in Mainland China, his personal data published on pro-CCP websites.On 9 February a spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed that Jahnke ‘is charged with one count of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause fear of or to provoke violence, contrary to section four, (1) and (4) of the Public Order Act 1986’: an offence that could carry a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a £5,000 fine. If found guilty, Jahnke may also face disciplinary procedures by the University, including the possibility of being permanently sent down, which could jeopardise his academic career and indeed his whole future.The allegation against Jahnke is clearly exaggerated when we compare it with the case of Jens Ammoser, a 52-year-old unemployed schoolteacher who was given four months’ probation for causing bodily harm and defamation after slapping Gerhard Schröder in the face at an SPD reception in Mannheim. By contrast, Jahnke did nothing but criticize a dictator, using no violence whatsoever. How can he be accused of any crime? We are appalled to see that an EU country is on its way to carrying out a political trial against an EU citizen.On 10 February Jahnke denied the allegations at the hearing. We fully support the defendant in the exercise of his fundamental rights. We admire his courage and owe him a debt of gratitude for speaking out for those in China who have never had the chance to express their despair. His action has greatly inspired an oppressed people to continue their fight for freedom, democracy and human rights.We oppose the violation of Jahnke’s rights by Wen and pro-CCP students. We condemn the hypocrisy of the CCP’s propaganda, and reject its manipulation of the internet violence. We also condemn the unfounded charges against and detention of Jahnke, and believe that such actions are in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.We urge an independent body to investigate the University of Cambridge for its breach of academic freedom and suppression of dissident opinions during Wen Jiabao’s visit. We would urge the same body to investigate some European governments for their abuse of police powers, out of shameful deference to the CCP, and for violating the rights of peaceful demonstrators during Wen’s visit to the EU.China is still a totalitarian state. On the very same day when the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed the charges against Jahnke, the CCP’s official party newspaper, The People’s Daily, published an article titled ‘Our Country Must Not Engage in a Western Multi-Party System’, attacking ‘Western-style’ democracy, and emphasizing the continued need for the one-party monopoly of power.We wish to draw the attention of the Committee on Human Rights to the fact that in this period of economic crisis, some European governments are abandoning the sanctity of human rights for the sake of doing business with the Chinese Communist regime. In so doing, they have not only given up on human rights in China, but also betrayed human rights in the EU, simply to curry favour with the Chinese dictator. We do not want to see any citizen become the victim of this unedifying deal, or even become a prisoner of conscience, therefore we are writing this letter to appeal for moral and legal support on Jahnke’s behalf, and to defend his inviolable dignity.Yours sincerely,Dr. Rongfen Wang, writer, Wiesbaden, GermanyJiang Shao, student, London, UKDr. Ping Hu, editor of Beijing Spring, New York, USADr. Kuide Chen, editor of China in Perspective, Princeton, USADr. Congde Feng, editor of 64 Memo, California, USASuying Feng, human rights activist, New York, USASchanschan Blank, artist, Hamburg, GermanyJunyi Fan, Hunan, ChinaTao Wan, Nanchang, ChinaChunhui Hua, Wuxi, ChinaJingbei Zang, USAMeilan Liu, Chengdu, ChinaXiaoyong Zhang, Henan, ChinaYidong Zhang, USAZidan Wie, Illinois, USALinda Pun, writer, HongkongJianli Yang, scholar, Boston, USAKelly Zhu, Texas, USAHua Zhang, poet, Paris, FranceSheng Wan, FranceXiaoming Peng, editor, GermanyAnna Liu, priest, AustraliaChunli Shen, engineer, Shanghai, ChinaYongyan Lin, Fujian, ChinaPhilip Chun, retired engineer, Los Angeles, USAXi Chen, Guizhou, ChinaYoulian Shen, Guizhou, ChinaShuangyuan Liao, Guizhou, ChinaRenke Li, Guizhou, ChinaZen Yan, California, USAGurbum gyal, journalist, Dharamshala, IndiaJohn Song, Rentner, Hohhot, ChinaLei Zhou, Wuhan, ChinaWenjian Wu, artist, Beijing, ChinaYongmei Cai, editor of Open Magazine, Hong KongJiaxin Zheng, Wenzhou, ChinaXiaodi Liu, New York ,USADr. Stephen Ng, London, UKJiawei Yan, writer, Sichuan, ChinaHongfan Gao, Beijing, ChinaNianguo Han, Professor, Beijing ,ChinaMoju Li, doctor, Beijing ,ChinaYa Liang, Huainan, ChinaYu Gao, Beijing, ChinaChristiane Godehardt, housewife, GermanyGuorong Lai, Shanghai, ChinaJianwei Li, New York, USARuoyu Chen, Student, Shunchang, ChinaXiaogang Zeng, Weiyuan, ChinaJian Kang, FranceWeiguang Zhong, GermanyTenzin Jigdal, UKTsering Passang, UKBeifang Xu, UKYisan Wu, HongkongMarty Frédéric, professional bassist, Issy les Moulineaux FranceBenjamin Harris, lawyer, USAKarma Chura-Tsang, Human Rights Activist, UKTenzin Rangdol, student, UKJ. Zhang, artist, UKRoger Catchpole, Educational Developer, UKPhurbu Rinzin, UKUgyan Norbu, London, UKGauthier Flavigny, London, UKPhuntsok Choephel, Telecommunication Analyst, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaMigyur Dorjee, Software Engineer, Bangalore, IndiaTenzin Choeying, Students, Dharamshala, IndiaKriti Kapoor, Student, Delhi University, IndiaTenzin Dolma, Student, UKDolma Dickyi, London, UKTenzin Norgay, Human Rights Defender, IndiaPasang Norbu, University of Wyoming, USABrian Kern, Hong Kong, ChinaShibayan Raha, Delhi,IndiaMarie L. Rabouhans, London, UKMingqiang Zhang, Chongqing, ChinaHuang Ciping, USAMigmar Yangchen of Hertfordshire, EnglandMigmar Yangchen, Hertfordshire, UKSusan Burrows, London, UKStéphane Vandezande, architect, Brussels, BelgiumJean Ann Naylor, Lancaster, UKMaya Markova, biology assistant, Sofia, BulgariaTerry Bettger, UKXu Pei, GermanyHuang Ciping, USA----------------------------------------------------If you wish to support the open letter in English, please send your name, country or city of residency, affiliation or profession, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com(more signatures will be added later)
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