2022 New Year’s Declaration on China’s Human Rights Crisis
January 1, 2022
We, the initiators of this open letter, are civil society organizations that have long been committed to human rights in China and strive to push forward China’s progress from a society ruled by law as a tool of oppression to one that follows the rule of law, as well as guiding the Chinese people to become citizens of the world who can pursue freedom and justice.
As many are aware, the communist red tide rose in the 19th century and continued into the 20th century. It brought about a global-scale disaster for all to witness and caused hundreds of millions of innocent lives to be lost. Since Xi Jinping became the supreme leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s legal system and human rights conditions have been continuously deteriorating. Even the slight progress that came after the opening up and reform of the CCP, such as the term limits on the supreme leader, was removed; this is a clear indication that this setback in the rule of law and human rights has no sign of being reversed in the foreseeable future. It is bound to cause greater disasters and endanger the lives of more innocent people.
Since Xi Jinping came into power, the CCP’s perverse practices at home and abroad in politics, economy, military, diplomacy, etc. are countless, but we will not discuss them all in this letter. Let’s first take a look at its domestic policies: from the suppression of human rights lawyers to the elimination of civil society; from large-scale violations of human rights in Tibet and Xinjiang to the full-scale crackdown and persecution of house churches; from the surveillance on all citizens through big data to the deprivation of citizens’ freedom of speech, assembly, association and other constitutional rights, even unjustifiably depriving citizens of their personal freedom and private property. During the Hu-Wen era, the “black jails” used to arbitrarily detain and torture prisoners of conscience had spread throughout the regions of China. After the Jasmine Revolution in the spring of 2011, the CCP set out to “legitimate” it; on March 14, 2012, China’s National People’s Congress passed a law and implemented it on January 1, 2013; under Article 73 of the Criminal Procedure Law, the black jail was replaced by “residential surveillance at a designated location,” the arrest of a person can go on for six months without notifying family members and lawyers, and the duration can be extended an unlimited number of times for another six months…. it is darker than the black jail. There are other cases of dissidents being diagnosed as “mentally ill,” being illegally detained, teachers who lost their jobs because their students had exposed and reported them to authorities…… the resurrection of an intensified “Cultural Revolution” will inevitably bring about economic depression, fear in people’s hearts and result in anger and resentment. In order to divert internal conflicts, the Chinese Communist Party, headed by Xi Jinping, abandoned its promise of “Hong Kong will remain unchanged for 50 years,” threatened Taiwan, incited xenophobia, and made enemies on all fronts around the world. The fruit of China’s prior 40 years of reform and opening-up has nearly all been lost.
In today’s world, when the CCP headed by Xi Jinping brazenly brags about its “whole-process people’s democracy,” we only need to cite a few cases where the lives of people are at stake to see how little the CCP regards life and humanity! From just the humanitarian perspective, we strongly protest against the CCP’s inhumane violation of civil rights.
Chinese citizen Yang Maodong (pen name: Guo Feixiong) and human rights lawyer Tang Jitian have family members overseas whose time on earth is nearing its end, but they have been barred from leaving the country to visit and take care of their dear ones. The female journalist Zhang Zhan’s life is at the edge of death while imprisoned, but she was still refused medical parole. Prisoner of conscience Huang Qi’s mother wanted to see her son for one last time before she died and was denied that before she passed away.
Guo Feixiong’s wife Zhang Qing, who resides in the United States, was found to have end-stage bowel cancer in January of this year and was in urgent need of Guo Feixiong’s company and care, but Guo Feixiong’s trip to the United States in January was cited by China’s Ministry of Public Security as “endangering national security,” and was stopped by authorities at the airport. For ten months thereafter, Zhang Qing’s condition deteriorated as each day passed, and in early November, the intestinal tumor caused the second intestinal obstruction, and her condition became critical and could turn life-threatening at any time. Guo Feixiong gave his utmost effort to go to the United States and accompany his sick wife, he made many sincere appeals to Chinese government departments and relevant leaders. At the same time, he also kept in communication with China’s public security departments at various levels. However, the Chinese authorities repeatedly obstructed Guo Feixiong, until he was arrested on December 5th and is still held in secret detention.
Lawyer Tang Jitian’s daughter was studying abroad in Japan when she suffered from tuberculosis in May of this year, and she was subsequently in the intensive care unit due to complications, in need of her father’s company. Lawyer Tang Jitian was barred from leaving China because he would “endanger national security.” Thereafter, lawyer Tang sought various government departments to make known his circumstance and even visited the ministry of public security, but his attempts were in vain. He was forcibly disappeared on December 8th.
Authorities arrested Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan last year for simply publishing the true living conditions of the Wuhan people during the coronavirus outbreak, and she was sentenced to four years in prison on the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” The staunch Zhang Zhan began a hunger strike at the beginning of her arrest and her life has only been sustained through tube feeding and injections. But by the end of October this year, Zhang Zhan, who was nearly 1.8 meters tall, lively and healthy, now weighs less than 40 kilograms and is so weak that she can hardly raise her head. Her brother thinks it will be difficult for her to survive this winter. Family members and lawyers repeatedly requested medical parole, but no matter how critical Zhang Zhan’s conditions are, the Shanghai CCP authorities refused her parole.
Prisoner of conscience Huang Qi was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment on the charges of “intentionally leaking state secrets” and “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities.” Huang Qi was targeted because he created the website “Tian Wang,” which originally covered kidnappings and human trafficking, and has now expanded to all acts of human rights violations. His only family is Pu Wenqing, his 87-year-old mother who was suffering from cancer. The Chongqing authorities not only prohibited the elderly mother from meeting her son during her final moments before she passed, but also imposed the “four prohibitions” that deprived Pu Wenqing of her citizenship rights: no petitioning in Beijing, no media interviews, no contact with petitioners, and she was not allowed to hire human rights lawyers.
We believe that the above-mentioned cases display the CCP authorities’ inhumane actions and abuse of public powers, and highlighted the CCP’s anti-humanism nature. These deplorable acts of violence have also made the inherently illegitimate nature of the CCP’s dictatorship even more evident. Those in power are also born as human beings, but where is their conscience? Their inhumane acts should face questioning from humankind. The CCP authorities have various excuses and reasons for their blatant behaviors that not only fail to convince the freedom-loving world citizens who are passionate about democracy and oppose the CCP’s one-party dictatorship, but also more and more Chinese people who were forcibly brainwashed by the CCP are no longer deceived.
Guo Feixiong and Tang Jitian, as citizens of the People’s Republic of China, enjoy the rights of free movement and free travel per the Constitution. They are neither terrorists nor public officials, how can they “endanger national security” if they leave the country to look after their dying family members? Zhang Zhan has already reached the point where she must leave prison for medical care. There are many precedents of criminal offenders in prison who obtained medical parole, so why is Zhang Zhan, a dying woman prisoner of conscience, repeatedly rejected? Huang Qi’s mother is a free citizen, why was she illegally deprived of many civil rights? Family members of prison inmates have the right to visit, so why couldn’t Huang Qi’s mother do so?
These four dying women show clearly the nature of the CCP’s departure from humanity. The tragedies of them and their families can only be attributed to the fact that they and their families did not want to be submissive to the one-party dictatorship, and thus suffered violent retribution from a dictator. This is why we must stand up and protest against the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government —— for the sole reason that we are human beings, from a humane standpoint of today’s human civilization, we cannot accept such man-made human tragedies, we cannot accept it and cannot ignore it.
The CCP authorities have taken their citizens hostage and thoroughly politicized and weaponized relationships and blood kinships that transcend politics, using them to coerce dissidents into submission. These dangerous, extreme, destructive crimes and trampling on human relationships are happening across China; this has become a critical threat to the basic rights and freedoms of the Chinese people, which constitutes one-sixth of the human population.
Since 2005, Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng defended the rights of Christians and Falun Gong practitioners, represented the North Shaanxi Oilfield case, and performed his duties as a lawyer. The police arrested him in August 2006 and on December 22 of the same year he was sentenced to three years and five-year probation for “inciting subversion of state power.” Lawyer Gao was kidnapped and tortured many times during his probation period, he recounted his experiences in “Dark Night, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia.” Nearing the end of Gao Zhisheng’s five-year probation, at that time he had been missing for 21 months, in 2011 he was sent to Shaya Prison in Xinjiang to serve his three-year sentence. Gao Zhisheng was subjected to prolonged solitary confinement, various forms of abuse, and appalling torture. After Gao Zhisheng was released from prison, he was under house arrest in his older brother’s cave home in a remote village in northern Shaanxi. Even though a majority of his teeth were destroyed with only a few of them intact, he was still prohibited from visiting a nearby county hospital for dental treatment. Under the circumstances of restricted freedom, Gao still penned many articles for the 709 lawyers whose human rights had been violated, such as “The Possible Fate of Lawyer Wang Quanzhang” and “The 2nd Anniversary of the 709 Crackdown.” On August 13, 2017, Gao Zhisheng’s family discovered that after being under house arrest in the cave-dwelling for nearly three years, he went missing. Gao Zhisheng, who is a free person under the law, has been forcibly disappeared for more than four years and four months. His family members desperately wait for any news of lawyer Gao but have received no information, his whereabouts and current status are unknown to this day.
The CCP’s kidnappings and threats have long gone beyond its borders. The kidnapping of Swedish citizens abroad and the holding of Canadian citizens as hostages have posed a threat to the safety of citizens of the free world and created the kind of threat only posed by terrorist organizations.
We have long called upon the corrupted powers, the Chinese Communist Party, to respect the law and basic humanity, but to no avail. We are now calling upon all the righteous people who stand for basic humanity, and all media, governments, and international organizations around the globe to oppose on China from all fronts and to fully unveil the antihumanism of the Chinese Communist regime, so that the world can recognize its evil nature. This includes a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, and speaking up for the victims on different occasions to stop all the CCP’s ongoing human rights abuses, especially to prevent the upcoming humanitarian tragedy from unfolding before the eyes of the world.
Therefore, we want to alert all of mankind: these humanitarian tragedies that are happening inside of China are an extremely serious indicator; please pay serious attention to this. China already possesses tremendous power to influence the world, and the totalitarian system has the ability to do evil to all mankind, and has exposed its desire and ambition to expand its power and do evil in multiple spheres.
The various vile acts that are taking place in China severely trample on human rights and human relations, and violate the basic freedoms of citizens, they will not only endanger the Chinese people, but the repercussions are destined to overflow and will undermine human freedom and peace, and cause harm to all mankind. The grim “today” of the Chinese people is likely to be the “tomorrow” for the rest of the world. There can be no illusions or flukes about this. This generation of human beings should not repeat the appeasement policies of the world towards the Nazis in the 1930s with their disastrous consequences.
We are now urgently speaking up to protest and appeal, not only for the universal freedom and dignity of the Chinese people, including Zhang Qing, Tang Zhengqi, Zhang Zhan, Pu Wenqing, and Gao Zhisheng who was forcibly disappeared, but also to fight and prevent the dangers that have already appeared in China to endanger the freedom and peace of all mankind. We hope that through their cases and other similar humanitarian and human rights cases our fellow human beings will push forward quickly with their cooperation; not only to say “no” to the totalitarian communist dictatorship, but to also seriously consider how to fundamentally eradicate the malignant tumor of communist tyranny!
We eagerly hope that our fellow human beings with noble aspirations will stand with us in protest and appeal through various forms, and use pragmatic actions to refuse any association with evil!
Chen Guangcheng, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Center for Human Rights, Catholic
University of America
Bob Fu, Ph.D., Founder and President, ChinaAid
Littlejohn, Founder and President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, Co-Founder
and Co-Chair, Stop the Genocide Games
Brown, Founder and CEO, Freedom Seekers International
Butts, Reporter, American Family News
Noyes, Executive Director, New Wineskins Missionary Network
and Mrs. Earl Joy Studer