Beijing (AsiaNews) - The desire for democracy and human rights for all is increasingly taking hold in China, where dissidents and activists are no longer afraid to ask for transparency into cases of abuse and no longer fear to hide their comrades to protect them from the vengeance of the government. Which, to this new page of Chinese social history, reacts with the usual wave of repression and violations.
The signs of this new phase are varied. A group of lawyers on mainland China and Hong Kong have written an open letter to ask the government to reopen the investigation into the "accidental" death of dissident Li Wangyang, which police claimed was a "suicide" despite much evidence to the contrary. Moreover, Li Guizhi's friends - blind activist who escaped from an illegal prison in which she had been imprisoned after seeking justice for her dead son - have managed to hide her from police.
At the same time, however, Chinese authorities have jailed a couple of dissidents who had participated in the march for democracy and human rights in the Territory - the traditional July 1 appointment - and sentenced them to one year in prison. And the annual Sino-US Dialogue on Human Rights, which opened yesterday in Washington, this year seems doomed bring to little or nothing: the upcoming U.S. elections and the change of guard in Beijing (appointments scheduled for October and November ) have removed any semblance of usefulness to the meetings.
The case of Li
Wangyang's death is the most emblematic. Li,
a trade unionist since the early 1980s, spent 13 years in prison on charges of
being a "counterrevolutionary" for leading an independent federation
of workers in Shaoyang during the 1989 demonstrations. After
his release for medical reasons in 2000, he was sentenced to another 10 years
He was found hanged last June 6 in a hospital room while he was under police control on the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, which falls on June 4. The social protest that has swept China has forced the authorities to reopen the case, but this has failed to provide any results [see. Hunan authorities reopen Li Wangyang's case: it was not suicide].
Now, ten lawyers have written to the National People's Assembly to emphasize
the "illogical conclusions of the police report. Li was almost blind and
was very weak: he could not possibly have made those complicated movements that
led to his death. Added to this the fact that his body was cremated soon after the
discovery despite the objections of his family, and this goes against national
laws and procedures. "
Wang Quanping, lawyer and signatory of the letter who lives in the province of Guangdong, said: "Li was a freedom fighter. He spent more than 20 years in jail but he never abandoned his ideals and his dreams. Now, after his release, he would kill himself?. No one would believe this story. "
According to Beijing
lawyer Qilei Lin, this is a standard procedure: "I have had many cases
like this. Clients of
mine have died mysteriously in detention centers or other places, and their
deaths were then labeled 'suicides. After Li
Wangyang's death, these fallacies can no longer be accepted. We have to
initiate systematic measures to eliminate these kinds of wrongs. "
However, the regime's response to the demands of freedom is always the same. The authorities of Jiangxi Province yesterday sentenced Song Ningsheng and Zeng Jiuzi to 1 year of hard labor. The two dissidents engaged in a battle for justice after the death of their wives, who died in illegal hospitals. The two had traveled to Hong Kong to join the 400 thousand who marched July 1 to ask Beijing to democracy and human rights.
In all this, the meeting between the Chinese and the American authorities in Washington for the annual human rights dialogue seems destined to bear no fruit. The human rights groups operating in America have asked the Obama administration to pressure China to stop the repression in Tibet and respect human rights in the country.
But the upcoming presidential elections in the United States in November and the Congress of the Communist Party in October, which will kick off the fifth generation of leaders rob this meeting of any political weight.