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Human Rights in China demands release of further political prisoners

November 16, 1997

Human Rights in China (HRIC) welcomes the release of veteran human rights activist and democracy champion Wei Jingsheng. Credit for securing Wei's release belongs to the years of dedicated effort that his family, international human rights organizations, journalists, governments, and countless numbers of individuals in China and worldwide have made on his behalf. For never bending to nearly 19 years of pressure to silence him, Wei Jingsheng himself deserves our greatest respect.

Wei Jingsheng should be free. He should also be free to live and speak openly on his native soil. It is a disgrace that the Chinese government holds its own citizens hostage in a game of international politics. Sending one more dissident into exile does not represent an improvement in China's human rights situation. It is in fact another form of human right's persecution. As long as Wei's voice for democracy cannot be heard inside China, and Wang Dan, Liu Nianchun, Li Hai and thousands of others remain silenced behind prison bars or in exile, none of the 1.2 billion citizens of China can ever truly be free to express themselves without fear. International pressure on China to improve its human rights situation should be strengthened.

Human Rights in China calls on President Clinton to make the unconditional release of other Chinese political prisoners - those who may not be as internationally known as Wei Jingsheng, but who are equally as important - a condition of his visiting China next year.

Human Rights in China demands that the Chinese government unconditionally release all political prisoners and take concrete steps to initiate genuine democratic reform in China.

Xiao Qiang, Executive Director

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