ACTIVISTS CALL ON CHINESE LEADER TO SET UP HUMAN RIGHTS MINISTRY

Radio Free Asia on February 5, 2014, reported that more than 1,000 people have signed an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping calling for better protection of citizens’ rights under the law, and for a nationwide system for monitoring human rights abuses, a veteran dissident said. Excerpts below:

The letter, titled “Stability is Founded on Rights Protection,” called on Xi to allow rights groups to register legally, to set up a human rights ministry, and to enact laws guaranteeing the right to freedom of speech, a free press, and the right to free association and demonstration.

The letter, which had garnered more than 1,200 signatures, also called for a “strike hard” campaign against human rights violators, and a collaboration mechanism for nongovernment groups to work with officials on human rights issues.

“Of course, we hope that China will ultimately achieve government by constitution, but this is very hard for a country like China to achieve, so there is a process,” Wuhan-based dissident Qin Yongmin, a co-founder of the banned opposition China Democracy Party (CDP) who penned the letter, told RFA.

Qin, 57, served a lengthy jail term for subversion after he helped found the CDP in 1998, and recently called on the new generation of leaders under Xi to enter into “peaceful dialogue” with Chinese citizens, or risk the fall of the regime in a manner similar to that of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

He said there currently exist no official bodies in China charged with the protection of human rights. And while nongovernment rights groups exist, they are, strictly speaking, illegal.

…rights violations have continued apace in recent weeks with large numbers of detentions of ordinary citizens last year, as well as the “suicide” death of Xue Fushun, father of prominent Shandong activist Xue Mingkai, in police custody last week, which many regard as suspicious.

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