Olympic Watch: human rights in China and the Beijing 2008 Olympics OLYMPIC WATCHOLYMPIC WATCH


Full text of statement on sentences for freedom of speech activists

Olympic Watch (Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games in a Free and Democratic Country) condemns the latest wave of prison sentences for Chinese human rights advocates. Particularly, it is concerned about the sentences for He Depu and Zheng Enchong, two peaceful activists, who were sentenced to eight and three years in prison, respectively, in two recent separate trials.

According to the information available, Zheng Enchong was punished by three years in prison on 28 October 2003 for the crime of “illegally providing state secrets to entities outside of China” by allegedly sending two reports to the New York-based organization Human Rights in China. The organization recognized receiving one of them, in which Zheng Enchong offered a basic description of a Shanghai workers’ demonstration in March. It denies ever receiving the other alleged report, based on which Zheng Enchong was also sentenced. Zheng Enchong, despite being a lawyer, was unaware that the information he provided might constitute a “state secret”.

In another case, He Depu was detained a year ago and sentenced on 6 November 2003 for “attempt to overthrow the state” while he only peacefully expressed his opinions by signing an open letter to the Beijing government, calling for political reforms. His family was not formally notified of his arrest for five months. He Depu has a serious liver condition, which was exacerbated by ill-treatment while he was in detention. The eight-year prison sentence may equal to death penalty for He Depu.

Olympic Watch is appalled by the ongoing persecution of Chinese activists that peacefully promote freedom of expression. We call on the authorities of the People’s Republic of China to:

• release He Depu, Zheng Enchong, and other prisoners of conscience,

• stop abusing the unclear provisions on “state secrets” for limiting the freedom of speech

• and to fulfill the commitments to improving the human rights situation and ensuring freedom of information that were declared while Beijing was bidding for the Olympic Games 2008.

Prague, 18 November 2003

Jan Ruml
Acting Chairman, Olympic Watch Committee

Olympic Watch
Webdesign and webhosting: NETservis, s.r.o. - prezentace, www stránky, design, flash, internet