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HRIC Welcomes German Intervention in Case of Three Gorges Activist

June 13, 2006

Human Rights in China (HRIC) welcomes intervention into the case of Three Gorges resettlement activist Fu Xiancai by
the German government and media. Fu Xiancai was attacked by unknown persons on
June 8 after local police questioned him over an interview with Fu broadcasted
by German public television station Das Erste in May. Fu was hospitalized after
the attack and is currently paralyzed from the shoulders down. On June 12, Jobst
Plog, director general of Das Erste’s parent organization, Norddeutscher
Rundfunk (NDR), and chairman of ARD (Arbeitsgemeinschaft
der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
the joint organization of Germany’s
public broadcasting agencies that includes Das Erste, sent a letter to Ma
Canrong, China’s Ambassador
to Germany,
protesting the attack on Fu Xiancai.

Noting that
NDR and its ARD Beijing Office would be in charge of covering the Beijing
Olympics in 2008, Professor Plog writes, “I earnestly ask you to do everything
in your power to ensure that Fu Xiancai gets all available and necessary
medical treatment. I also would like you to use your influence to ensure that
Chinese citizens do not have to fear for their health or lives in the future,
just because they make a factual statement on German Television. Otherwise, any
successful and constructive coverage of the People’s Republic of China will be

Copies of
the ARD letter were also sent to the German government and to the German
embassy in Beijing.
According to the German radio station Deutsche Welle, the German foreign
ministry has since taken up Fu Xiancai’s case, and has demanded an explanation
from the Chinese government through the German Embassy in Beijing.

The German
intervention in Fu Xiancai’s case is a constructive effort to ensure that the
international community’s Olympics participation is not marred by human rights
violations. HRIC continues to call on the Chinese government to conduct a full
and transparent investigation, especially since Fu is facing paralysis and cannot
afford necessary medical treatment. Given the complicity of local authorities
in the threats and attacks on Fu Xiancai, the Chinese authorities should make
every effort to ensure that Fu receives whatever treatment is necessary to
restore his health. HRIC also urges the international community and media to
continue to monitor the human rights situation and advocate for greater respect
for human rights in China.

addition, HRIC would like to correct some information that was included in
yesterday’s press release regarding Das Erste’s coverage of Fu Xiancai:

Das Erste
has informed HRIC that the interview with Fu that Das Erste broadcasted in May
was filmed by another party and made available to Das Erste. In addition, Das
correspondent did not appear at the hospital with a photographer following the
assault on Fu Xiancai. Rather, a Das Erste journalist contacted people from
Fu’s village to learn more of the situation, and was told that police
surveillance on Fu’s hospital ward was preventing anyone but Fu’s wife from
visiting him.