Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Stop persecution of Human Rights Defenders

MADPET condemns the continuing and escalating suppression of religious freedom, human rights and basic civil liberties in China.

On February 12 2006, the Asia Pacific Relay Hunger Strike for Anti-Persecution Support Network began a hunger strike in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in order to support the human rights movement in China and in protest against the cruel persecution of human rights activists and oppressed people in China. This hunger strike campaign also seeks to publicise and gather support for prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. In a blatant atempt to silence Mr.Gao, the Chinese authorities have closed down his law office and are said to have repeatedly threatened him and even placed him under 24 hour police surveillance.

Mr.Gao has been at the forefront of the legal battle on behalf of political and religious dissidents. His legal firm has been involved in a land dispute case against locally elected officials in Taishi Village in Guangdong which is a test case for local democracy, has supported Chen Guangcheng a lawyer under house arrest in Linyi City because of his involvement in class action suit aginst local authorities, has defended Zheng Yichun a journalist and former professor who has sentenced to seven years imprisonment for his on-line writings and has aided Falun Gong members who have been brutally tortured and imprisoned by the Chinese authorities. In one of his letters dated 22 November 2005 to President Hu Jin Tao and Premier Wen Jiabao, Mr Gau disclosed “…the true accounts of unbelievable brutality, among the records of the government’s inhumane torture of its own people, …the lewd yet routine practice of attacking women’s genitals by 6-10 Office staff and the police…Almost all who have been persecuted, be they male or female, were first stripped naked before any torture...”

The Chinese government also continues to persecute many other human rights activists and lawyers in an attempt to cow them into abandoning their principled and brave stand against persecution and repression. A case in point is that of Zheng Enchong, a human rights lawyer who has been imprisoned for three years on absurd charges and who has allegedly been beaten in prison in Shanghai. These actions of the Chinese authorities are in flagrant defiance of international norms and basic standards of human decency.

We demand that the Government of China guarantees the safety of Gao Zhisheng and other human rights defenders and lawyers and allows them to continue their efforts on behalf of the people of China without further harassment and persecution.

We call for the immediate release of activists such as Zheng Engchong who have been imprisoned upon baseless charges.

We also ask that the Government of Malaysia request the Chinese Government for an immediate assurance of the safety of Gao Zhisheng.

N. Surendran, Charles Hector & Salbiah Ahmad
for Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
21st February 2006

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