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June 14, 2002

HRIC is frequently asked, “What can I do to make a difference?” This page gives suggestions on what you can do in specific areas of concern.


Prior to US President George W. Bush’s visit to Beijing in late February, a number of families of political prisoners wrote letters asking him to raise these cases with Chinese officials, and to relay their request that the prisoners be granted medical parole. We encourage readers to bring the following cases to the attention of their governments, urging them to exert greater pressure on the Chinese authorities to release them.

  • Gong Liwen, mother of Li Hai, a human rights activist jailed in 1995 for making public a list of individuals sentenced to prison terms for their participation in the 1989 demonstrations, wrote an open letter to U.S. President George Bush on September 23. Li was sentenced to nine years in prison and two years’ deprivation of political rights.

    Li Hai’s health is rapidly deteriorating, as he suffers from heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney stones, among other chronic conditions. Because Li insists he is innocent, he has been denied exercise time. He is also prohibited from buying food or receiving food during monthly family visits, which have at times been suspended to punish him.

  • In late January, the family of An Jun, 44, an anti-corruption activist convicted of subversion and sentenced to four years in prison in November 1999, appealed to President Bush to seek his release on medical grounds. An had established an independent anti-corruption organization that claimed around 300 members in 12 provinces. The organization had successfully uncovered over 100 cases of corruption before it was labeled subversive. In the appeal, An’s family said he was suffering from heart disease and severe dizziness.

  • On February 13, 2002, Zhang Hong, wife of prominent dissident Jiang Qisheng, also appealed to President Bush to seek medical parole for her imprisoned husband. Jiang, an advocate for June Fourth massacre victims, was sentenced to four years in prison and one year’s deprivation of political rights in November 1999. He was convicted of subversion for drafting and circulating an open letter on April 15, 1999, calling on Chinese people to mark the 10th anniversary of the June Fourth massacre with peaceful acts, such as lighting candles in their homes. Jiang suffers from poor eyesight and high blood pressure.

    In addition, Zhang asked President Bush to pressure Chinese officials to deliver a thesis Jiang recently completed to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) Review Committee. After nine years of research, Jiang completed the paper, “About T Change and Inversing Evolution,” which challenges the symmetry theorem

    currently accepted in physics. Although Chinese prison law encourages prisoners to conduct scholarly research, authorities have refused to deliver the paper to the CASS.

  • He Xintong, wife of Xu Wenli, a leader of the outlawed China Democracy Party, also appealed to Bush, asking that Xu be released for urgent medical treatment. Xu was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment in December 1998 for “endangering state security.” Xu was one of a group of activists who had tried to set up the Chinese Democracy Party in 1998, including attempting to register the party with the authorities. Xu has already served 12 years in prison for his role in the Democracy Wall Movement. Xu is suffering from severe hepatitis and has been denied proper medical treatment. Already 59 years old, Xu’s family is concerned that he could die at any time.

Send your appeals to:

  • President Jiang Zemin, Chinese Communist Party, Yongdingmen CK Street, Beijing 1000032, P. R. China

  • President Zhu Rongji, Guowuyuan, 9 Xihuangchenggenbeijie, Beijing 1000032, P. R. China

  • National People’s Congress, Quanguo Renmin Dahuitang, 19 Xijiaominxiang, Xichengqu, Beijing 100805, P. R. China

  • Chinese Medical Association, 42 Dongsi Xidajie, Beijing 100710, PR China; Fax: (86) 10 6512 3754

Zhang Shanguang is one of China’s most outspoken defenders of worker rights. Zhang was sentenced to 10 years in prison on December 27, 1998. His imprisonment is believed to be connected to his efforts to establish the Association to Protect the Rights and Interests of Laid-Off Workers. In March of 2001, Zhang penned an appeal, “Where Are Our Legal Rights?” in Hunan Red Mountain Prison (see page 32), which revealed abysmal conditions in the facility, including routine torture, lack of medical care and excessive working hours. The appeal was discovered, and all of the many prisoners who signed it face serious retaliation by prison authorities. Write to urge the authorities to address the prisoners’ concerns and conduct an investigation into conditions in the prison. Request that the authorities act expeditiously to improve conditions at Red Mountain and other prisons, and ensure there is no retaliation against the prisoners who exposed them.

Send your appeals to:

  • Governor, Hunan Provincial People’s Government, Zhang Yunchuan Shengzhang, Hunansheng Renmin Zhengfu, 7 Wuyizhonglu, Changshashi 410011, Hunansheng, P. R. China

  • Prison Director, Jianyu Zhang, Hunan Provincial Prison No 1, Huansheng di yi Jianyu, PO Box 101, Xinyuan Lu, Nanzui, Yuanjiangshi, Hunansheng 413104, P. R. China

In addition you can write to your local member of Congress or member of parliament and urge him/her to request that your government express concern about these matters in meetings with Chinese government officials.

If you wish to make a donation to help the families of detained activists, make a contribution to HRIC’s humanitarian fund by sending a check made out to Human Rights in China to our New York office.


Thanks to those who have recently made donations or renewed their subscriptions to China Rights Forum.