02/25/2005, 00.00
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Chinese dissidents call on UN to intervene over human rights

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A group of 106 political activists from 25 Chinese provinces and cities signed and submitted a letter to the UN Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday, calling on the world body to intervene in China's human rights issues. It also called on the authorities to immediately release several dissidents currently detained.

Beijing activist Ren Wanding said the letter was sent ahead of the Commission's next meeting in Geneva which is scheduled for March. "The mainland has never sent the UN any letter concerning [human rights]," the veteran pro-democracy activist said.

In their letter, Ren and the others write that China's human rights situation has deteriorated after the authorities launched a drive in the second half of 2004 to illegally arrest dissidents.

Not only were these dissidents repeatedly arrested, detained and put under house arrest, but some were reportedly brutally attacked, the letter said.

The group called on the Geneva-based Commission to investigate cases involving physical violence and put those responsible on trial in international tribunals.

It also called for the immediate release of dissidents including Ye Guozhu, Shi Tao, Zheng Mingfeng, Zhang Lin and Zhao Xin.

Ye, an internet dissident, was sentenced to four years in December after applying for permission to organise a 10,000-strong demonstration in Tiananmen Square,

Shi was arrested at his home in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, on November 24. No reason was given.

Zhang was reportedly detained after the death of ousted Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang, but little is known of his fate.

The letter ended asking the "Commission for Human Rights [to] adopt positive and effective measures to prevent similar incidents".

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