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Paramount Leader of the PRC (1978 - 1992)

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Human rights are “rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled.” Proponents of the concept usually assert that everyone is endowed with certain entitlements merely by reason of being human. However, there is no consensus as to the precise nature of what in particular should or should not be regarded as a human right in any of the preceding senses, and the abstract concept of human rights has been a subject of intense philosophical debate and criticism. Human rights are not historically a Chinese concept, but a Western import. The first interpretation regards attempts to introduce human rights into China as an unnecessary cultural intrusion into a culture and a society quite self-sufficient in its own pursuit of humane values and social harmony.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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The People’s Republic of China has long been at the heart of the debate between socialist, Third World, and Western concepts of human rights. Human rights in the People’s Republic of China become a matter of dispute between the Chinese government and other countries and NGOs. Organizations such as the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have accused the Chinese government of restricting the freedoms of speech, movement, and religion of its citizens. The Chinese government argues for a wider definition of human rights, to include economic and social as well as political rights, all in relation to national culture and the level of development of the country. In this regard, China says, human rights are being improved in China. 5


5th President of the PRC

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Activist for human rights in the PRC

Premier of the PRC

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Premier of the PRC

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The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 is the name for a series of protests that occurred in April and June of that year. China refers to them as the June Fourth Incident, most of the world calls it the Tiananmen Square massacre. The protests of 1989 were organised by different groups of students, intellectuals and labour activists. There was no common cause or leadership in the protests; most protesters did not like the way the Communist party of China ran the economy, though. Some people also wanted a change towards more democracy.

Most people protested on Tianmen Square in Beijing. The protests in cities other than Beijing stayed peaceful. On 4 June, the government forcefully dissolved the protests. This left many people injured or dead. The exact number is not known today, different people have different numbers. The Chinese government speaks about 200 - 300 victims, the New York Times says there were between 300 and 800 and the Chinese Red Cross talks about 2,000 - 3,000.

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Student leader in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

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Human Rights in China is a New York-based international, Chinese, non-governmental organization with a mission to promote international human rights and advance the institutional protection of these rights in the People’s Republic of China. Founded by Chinese students and scholars in March 1989, HRIC implements programs to generate institutional, systemic change in China while also engaging in critical advocacy strategies on behalf of individuals HRIC serves as a source of analysis and information on the human rights situation in China, as well as an active NGO advocate in the international arena.

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The Chinese Communist Party is known for its intolerance of organized dissent towards the government. The Communists equate democracy with “dictatorship of the proletariat”. Consequently, they saw no need for elected governments so they established the people’s democratic dictatorship. All higher levels of government are indirectly elected with candidates vetted by the government. Opposition parties are outlawed. Dissident groups are routinely arrested and imprisoned. Incidents of torture, forced confessions and forced labour are widely reported. Freedom of assembly and association is extremely limited.

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Human Rights in China is a New York-based international, Chinese, non-governmental organization with a mission to promote international human rights and advance the institutional protection of these rights in the People’s Republic of China. Founded by Chinese students and scholars in March 1989, HRIC implements programs to generate institutional, systemic change in China while also engaging in critical advocacy strategies on behalf of individuals HRIC serves as a source of analysis and information on the human rights situation in China, as well as an active NGO advocate in the international arena.

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The Chinese Communist Party is known for its intolerance of organized dissent towards the government. The Communists equate democracy with “dictatorship of the proletariat”. Consequently, they saw no need for elected governments so they established the people’s democratic dictatorship. All higher levels of government are indirectly elected with candidates vetted by the government. Opposition parties are outlawed. Dissident groups are routinely arrested and imprisoned. Incidents of torture, forced confessions and forced labour are widely reported. Freedom of assembly and association is extremely limited.

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Following the protests, officials banned controversial films and books, and shut down a large number of newspapers. Within one year, 12% of all newspapers, 8 percent of publishing companies, 13% of social science periodicals and more than 150 films were banned or shut down. In addition to this, the government also announced it had seized 32 million contraband books and 2.4 million video and audio cassettes.

Activist for human rights in the PRC

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Numerous human rights organizations maintain a litany of grievances against the Chinese government. By the 1990s, the democracy movement seemed to be in decline, both within and outside China. This could be in part the result of the Chinese government tightening its control over its people’s freedom of speech, thus giving the appearance of disinterest, or as a result of the overall economical and social reforms China has undertaken in recent years.

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Activist for human rights in the PRC / Activist for human rights in the PRC

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2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

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Activist for human rights in the PRC / 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

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Activist for human rights in the PRC / 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

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June 1989

January 1991

Charged with spreading messages to instigate counterrevolutionary behavior.

Imprisoned in one of China’s best-known maximum security prisons, Qincheng Prison, and discharged when he signed a “letter of repentance.”

Released after being jailed for six months.

May 1995

January 1996

Being involved in democracy and human rights movement and voicing publicly the need to redress government’s wrongdoings in the student protest of 1989.

October 1996

October 1999

Charged with disturbing the social order.

Jailed in a labor education camp for three years. In 1996, he married Liu Xia.

2020

Charged with spreading a message to subvert the country and authority.

Sentenced for 11 years and deprived of all political rights for two years. Currently imprisoned in Jinzhou Prison in Liaoning Province.

December 2009

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Liu Xiaobo is one of best known human rights activists in China. Late in the evening of 8 December 2008, two days before the official release of Charter 08, Liu Xiaobo was taken away from his home by police. Another scholar and Charter 08 signatory, Zhang Zuhua, was also taken away by police at that time. According to Zhang, the two were detained on suspicion of gathering signatures to the Charter. While Liu was detained, in solitary confinement, he was not allowed to meet with his lawyer or family, though he was allowed to eat lunch with his wife, Liu Xia, and

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two policemen on New Year’s Day 2009. On 23 June 2009, the Beijing procuratorate approved Liu Xiaobo’s arrest on charges of “suspicion of inciting subversion of state power,” a crime under article 105 of China’s Criminal Law. Xinhua news release announcing Liu’s arrest, the Beijing Public Security Bureau alleged that Liu had incited the subversion of state power and the overturn of the socialist system through methods such as spreading rumors and slander, citing almost verbatim Article 105; the Beijing PSB also noted that Liu had “fully confessed.”

On 18 January 2010, Liu was nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize by Václav Havel, the 14th Dalai Lama, André Glucksmann, Vartan Gregorian, Mike Moore, Karel Schwarzenberg, Desmond Tutu and Grigory Yavlinsky. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu stated that awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu would be “totally wrong”. Geir Lundestad, a secretary of the Nobel Committee, stated the award would not be influenced by Beijing’s opposition.

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It is necessary to reflect on the modernization process of the past hundred and some years and reaffirm the following concepts of human rights and democracy.

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Through painstaking exploration and hard struggle, mechanically copying the Western bourgeois political system and applying it to China would lead them nowhere.

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The rights of speech, publication, belief, assembly, association, movement, to strike, and to march and demonstrate are concrete expressions of freedom. If freedom does not flourish, there is no civilization.

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Institutional and legal guarantees ensure that the people are the masters of the country, and they can use their own public rights and all rights of citizenship to safeguard and realize all the interests of them.

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The most fundamental meaning is that

The democratic political system

sovereignty resides in the people and

in China was established by the Chinese people led

the government

by the CCP.

elected by the people. It is the

The development

modern public

and improvement

instrument for

of this system are

creating a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

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also carried out under the CCP’s leadership.

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Human rights are not bestowed by a state; they are inherent rights enjoyed by every person.

on the one hand, democracy of the widest scope

Guaranteeing human rights is both the most

is practiced among the people, human rights are

important objective

respected and ensured,

of a government and

and state power is in the

the foundation of the

hands of the people and

legitimacy of its public

serves the interests of

authority; the intrinsic

the people.

requirement of the policy of “putting people first.� People are the mainstay of a nation; a nation serves its people; government exists for the people.

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Under the people’s democratic dictatorship,

Criminal activities are penalized according to law so as to safeguard the fundamental interests of the broad masses.

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On 19 February 2011 there were calls made via social networks such as Twitter to begin a “Jasmine Revolution” in China.

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around the country. Small crowds, including a large number of foreign journalists, gathered at the planned site in Beijing and Shanghai but did not chant slogans or hold signs.

Chinese authorities arrested activists,increased the normal police presence, disabled some cell CCP General Secretary and President Hu phone text messaging services and deleted Jintao responded by calling top leaders into Internet postings about protests Currentplanned Presidentfor of the PRCa “study session” to root out and tackle 14:00 on 20 February in Beijing, Shanghai social issues before they “become threats and 11 other cities. On the day of the protests, to stability”. In a speech at the Central Party the police turned out en masse to all of the School, Hu called out for tighter restrictions to potential protest locations in various cities the internet.

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On 19 February 2011 there were calls made via social networks such as Twitter to begin a “Jasmine Revolution” in China.

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around the country. Small crowds, including a large number of foreign journalists, gathered at the planned site in Beijing and Shanghai but did not chant slogans or hold signs.

Chinese authorities arrested activists,increased the normal police presence, disabled some cell CCP General Secretary and President Hu phone text messaging services and deleted Jintao responded by calling top leaders into Internet postings about protests Currentplanned Presidentfor of the PRCa “study session” to root out and tackle 14:00 on 20 February in Beijing, Shanghai social issues before they “become threats and 11 other cities. On the day of the protests, to stability”. In a speech at the Central Party the police turned out en masse to all of the School, Hu called out for tighter restrictions to potential protest locations in various cities the internet.

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A high level Chinese government official Zhao Qizheng said, on 23 February, that the probability of China having a “Jasmine Revolution” is “absurd and unrealistic”. He also said that “although there are many problems in China right now, the government is doing the best it can to try and combat these problems instead of ignoring them. The government reveals its own problems to the public and tries to deal with it. This type of government is strong and will move forward.”

Current President of the PRC

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The new line of conduct would appear first to require conscious attitudinal changes involving leadership recognition that to mediate the tension between reform and stability, a more effective, modern, and humane system of law has to be developed, whatever the threat to Party power. Such a change in attitudes can only occur as a result of the acknowledgement, at both elite and grass-roots level, that is not only necessary, but crucial.

Charter 08 is a manifesto initially signed by intellectuals and human rights activists. For details of Charter 08 and further reading, please visit:

www.charter08.com Time, however, is something that the Chinese people may By signing not be this prepared charter to you vouchsafe are standing with thousands of other people promoting a their leaders. betterThe China continuation and a brighter of thefuture socialist for the people in China. system in China would appear too hinge. It depends on the government realizing that in the present era human rights are seen by the world’s citizens as involving a mix of rights.

http://www.charter08.com/sign.php

Today’s China, the economic rights to life can no longer be counterposed against the civil rights to life. The management of human rights entails a balance, not a trade-off.

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Charter 08 is a manifesto initially signed by intellectuals and human rights activists. For details of Charter 08 and further reading, please visit:

www.charter08.com By signing this charter you are standing with thousands of other people promoting a better China and a brighter future for the people in China.

http://www.charter08.com/sign.php

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Books Between freedom and subsistence : China and human rights (1993) by Kent, Ann Confucianism and human rights / edited by Wm. Theodore de Bary and Tu Weiming (1998) by De Bary, William Theodore

Internet sources http://chinajsm.blogspot.com http://hrichina.org http://www.alliance.org.hk http://wikipedia.org http://wuerkaixi.com/ http://www.artspiral.org/past_exhibitions/june4/june4.php http://www.freechina.net http://www.gov.cn/govtest/content_265020.htm http://www.minzhuzhongguo.org/

Videos Tiananmen Square Protests

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7ou2-Kv4UA

Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKoz9IJu0JU

Illustrations Flag of the People’s Republic of China Tank Man

pg 7 pg 10 & pg 11

http://www.chinese-flag.org/rippled-chinese-flag-720.jpg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKoz9IJu0JU

Chinese propaganda illustration

pg 14

Illustration by YY Yan

Presidents of the People’s Republic of China (from left : Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Jiang Zemin, Deng Xiaoping)

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Illustration by YY Yan

Tiananmen Square protests photos data

pg 17

http://my.m4.cn/attachment/200912/13/14202_12606678890hyF.jpg

Liu Xiaobo

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Illustration by YY Yan

2011 Chinese Jasmine Revolution

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http://media.courierpress.com/media/img/photos/2011/02/20/China_Jasmine_Revolut_Reyn_t607.jpg


Y Y Yan © 2011


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