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Suizhou Resident Protests Forced Subscription to Party Newspaper

February 4, 2003

For Immediate Release

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that authorities in Suizhou, Hubei Province, have been forcing residents to subscribe to the local party newspaper. A teacher, Liu Feiyue, has published an open letter to the National People’s Congress protesting this attempt at “brainwashing” and improper confiscation of private funds.

HRIC has received a copy of the open letter in which Liu Feiyue, a secondary school teacher, vehemently protests having payments automatically deducted from his paycheck over the past several years for a subscription to the party newspaper, Suizhou Daily. Liu says that beginning in the second half of 2002, he and his family, which includes his wife and a son aged one-and-a-half, have been forced to subscribe to two copies of the Suizhou Daily.

Liu previously expressed his discontent at the forced subscription in articles published on the Internet, insisting that as he was not a party member he should not be obliged to provide financial support to a party publication he had no wish to read. Liu reports local authorities initially threatened him, but in order to prevent the matter receiving widespread attention they eventually agreed to terminate the subscription. However, Liu also states, the authorities have since backed out on the agreement, and the Suizhou Daily is still being regularly delivered to Liu’s home.

In his open letter to the National People’s Congress, Liu alleges that his forced financial support of the party newspaper is not an isolated incident, but is a regular practice all over China. Liu calls on the NPC to bring a halt to this unlawful abuse of a Chinese citizen’s rights.

HRIC supports Liu Feiyue’s protest against forced subscriptions to Party propaganda and calls on Chinese authorities to discontinue the practice. In addition, HRIC urges the Chinese government not to retaliate against Liu for his insistence on bringing the matter to public attention.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (852) 2710-8021 (English – Hong Kong)
Liu Qing 212-239-4495 (Chinese)