HUMAN RIGHTS STRATEGY REPORT
In April 2001, HRIC convened a two-day consultation to explore more effective human rights strategies for China. Building upon discussions with participants, including former government officials, scholars, activists, business people and journalists, in November 2001 HRIC prepared a report that set forth 11 ideas in four thematic areas:
- putting human rights back into development;
- institutionalizing accountability;
- promoting a culture of rights; and
- strengthening international scrutiny.
TESTIMONY AT US-CHINA COMMISSION
On February 7, 2002, Executive Director Xiao Qiang testified at the first hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. The Commission was established to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China. In the testimony, Xiao highlighted key issues confronting China, such as the repressive use of law, the arbitrariness of administrative detention, discrimination against rural residents and ethnic minorities and a lack of accountability for human rights violations.
On January 16, 2002, HRIC organized a roundtable discussion with authors Gordon Chang (The Coming Collapse of China), Andrew Nathan (The Tiananmen Papers) and Judith Shapiro (Maos War Against Nature), hosted by Sy Chaliff, Esq. at the Kay Scholer Law Firm. After a brief presentation from each author, there was lively debate on the future of China. The event drew a diverse crowd of lawyers, foundation representatives and China experts.
HRIC convened its annual board meeting on February 1. At the well-attended and productive event, the board reviewed the organizations 2001 work report, approved plans for 2002 and reelected Fang Lizhi and Robert Bernstein as co-chairs.
REMEMBERING TWO KEY DISSIDENTS
- Philosopher and journalist Wang Ruoshui, a former editor of the Peoples Daily who was expelled from the Party for criticizing Mao Zedong and calling for mental emancipation from decades of Communist dogma, died on January 9. Wangs ideas on the need for humanism in China provided support for the universality of human rights, and he joined HRICs board of directors in 1992 while still living in China.
- HRIC helped organize a memorial service for writer Wang Ruowang, held on December 29 in Flushing, New York. A week before his death, Wang, 83, refused an offer from the Chinese government to allow him to return to his homeland. The offer was conditional on Wang promising not to publish articles criticizing the government or meet with dissidents, and although he had repeatedly stated his wish to return home, he refused to accept these terms.
Fang Lizhi and Liu Binyan presided at the memorial, one of the largest gatherings of Chinese dissidents and activists in exile since 1989. Speakers included Xiao Qiang, Hu Ping, Wang Dan, Wei Jingsheng, Wang Juntao, Gao Zhan, Andrew Nathan, Perry Link, a special envoy of the Dalai Lama and many others.
- HRIC welcomes Nicolas Becquelin as researcher in the Hong Kong office. Nicolas, a prominent scholar on Xinjiang, received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris, in 2001. From 1996 to 1999 he was a research fellow at the French Research Center on Contemporary China in Hong Kong. He has published papers on the subject in The China Journal and China Perspectives. In February, Nicolas gave a briefing on China-Xinjiang relations in the wake of September 11 for the Council on Foreign Relations.
- HRIC also welcomes Kate Goldstein-Breyer, executive administrative assistant. Kate holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University. She worked as director of community outreach for the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and has done research for authors in New York.
- HRIC extends a special thank you and best wishes to Beatrice Laroche, UN Liaison. During her six years at HRIC, Beatrice worked tirelessly on outreach and advocacy activities, and was an effective lobbyist at the UN and EU, as well as contributing to many other aspects of HRICs work.
- After more than 10 years of tremendous contributions to HRIC, Sophia Woodman has received a research fellowship from the Social Science Research Councils Program on Global Security and Cooperation and will be stepping down as research director, but continuing to edit China Rights Forum during 2002.
- HRIC thanks interns and volunteers Jeff Gima, Michelle Lopez and others who do not wish to be named for their invaluable contribution to our work.