President Obama Urged to Speak Out For Civil Society in China
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today urged President Obama to condemn the crackdown on civil society in China when he meets with officials there in November. The call came in a letter to the president signed by nine human rights organizations, including Human Rights First.
“The deteriorating human rights environment and the extraordinary damage done to China’s civil society should be given greater prominence in the bilateral relationship generally and your upcoming trip in particular,” stated the letter. “We appreciate the U.S. government’s efforts to raise individual cases and discuss broader human rights issues with Chinese counterparts. While it may be tempting to conclude from Beijing’s increasing intransigence that such efforts are ineffective, we believe that by publicly raising the cases of particular activists during your visit to Beijing, you may afford them protection from ill-treatment or torture in detention, and increase the prospects of parole or humanitarian release.”
The signatories of today’s letter urged the president to publicly speak out against the detention of human rights defenders, including 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiabo and his wife Liu Xia, Uighur economist Ilham Tohti, human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, and Tibetan Buddhist leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. The letter notes that the crackdown on dissent has seen an uptick since President Xi Jinping came to power in March 2013.
Today’s letter was signed by representatives from Amnesty International, Freedom House, Freedom Now, Human Rights in China, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Tibet, the Project 2049 Institute, and the Uyghur American Association.