CJFE calls for release of pro-democracy activist in China

Wednesday, June 16, 1999

CJFE protests arrest of
pro-democracy activist in China

His Excellency Jiang Zemin
State Council President
Beijing 100032
P.R. China
Fax: +86 10 6512 5810

16 June 1999

Your Excellency,

On behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-governmental organization which promotes free expression worldwide, I am writing to express my serious concern about the detention of leading pro-democracy activist Jiang Qisheng.

Jiang Qisheng was arrested at his home on 18 May 1999. Following his arrest, a large group of police ransacked his home and took away his writing materials, overseas Chinese magazines and his son's computer.

No charges against Jiang Qisheng have been made public. It is suspected, however, that he may have been arrested for giving an interview to "The Boston Globe" the day before. In the interview, Jiang was reported to be critical of the Chinese government's response to events in Kosovo, and commented on the Chinese government's reaction to the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.

The CJFE would like to remind you that one's peaceful expression of opinions is guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which China is a signatory. As such, we respectfully insist that Jiang Qisheng be immediately and unconditionally released unless charges with a recognizable criminal offence are laid. In that case, we ask that the charges be made public. Also, the CJFE seeks assurance that Jiang Qisheng is granted access to legal counsel, family and medical care whilst in detention.

The CJFE asks that you inform this office and the public of your action in this matter.

Yours truly,

Wayne Sharpe
Executive Director

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