January 7, 2013
Over the year of 2013, Liu Yuandong (刘远东) was arrested in March; Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), Zhao Changqing (赵常青), Liu Ping (刘萍), Wei Zhongping (魏忠平), Li Sihua (李思华) and others were arrested in April; Song Ze (宋泽) and Xu Zhiyong (许志永) were arrested in July; Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), Li Huaping (李化平) and Liu Jiacai (刘家财) were arrested in August; Wang Gongquan (王功权) was arrested in September; and in October Dong Rubin (董如彬) was arrested…… In 2013, more than one hundred citizens were arrested for exercising their basic rights.
Most of them have been indicted with trials pending. Their fate is now in your hands.
So we feel compelled to appeal to all of you who will be presiding over their trials. We didn’t appeal to the police officers who arrested these brothers and sisters of ours, because they were soulless components of a machine and they act as the machine commands them. But you are different; you could still be considered part of the community of legal professionals.
If you think China still has what can be called a judiciary, if you believe judicial justice is the baseline of social justice, then you will have to acknowledge that you are given the sacred responsibility to defend that justice.
We ask you to assume this responsibility of yours, not allowing political interference to trump your obligation to justice.
You are all versed in law; you surely know how to use the yardstick of the law. After examining the related legal documents—especially the indictments, and the evidence presented by the police, after hearing the defense of the defendants themselves and their defense lawyers, there will be a time when you judge these cases against the Constitution and the law. We ask you to place your hand on your chest, where your heart beats, and ask yourselves whether you would deny that these are cases of political persecution. Do you honestly believe these citizens have perpetrated the crimes they are accused of?
Align your loyalty with nothing but the Constitution and the law, and make that the basic ethical requirement of your profession. As recently as December 4, 2013, Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People’s Court of China, along with 500 Chinese judges, pledged the following:
“I am a judge of the People’s Republic of China. I pledge my allegiance to the motherland, to the people, and to the Constitution and the law. [I pledge] to truthfully fulfill my duty as a judge and adhere to professional ethics and a judge’s code of conduct. [I pledge] to administer the law judiciously, with integrity, and for the people, and I will endeavor to maintain social fairness and justice!”
Dear judges, now it is the time to make good on your pledges. World opinion is focusing its attention on you, so are the justice-loving people around the world.
No less importantly, history will be recording you. No case is an abstraction; all the particulars will be written into history, especially the name of each one of you on the verdicts. In other words, while you are trying these innocent citizens, you yourselves will also be tried by history, that is, by justice and conscience.
Not to mention the trial of the posterity. Your children and your grandchildren will be interested in these historic records bearing your names. How do you want them to regard you? Do you want them to be proud or ashamed of you?
Indeed, you will have to take the legal and moral responsibility for all these cases. You have no place to hide. Do not for a moment think you can be absolved of this responsibility by hiding behind the organization to which you belong. You should harbor no illusions about the organization. It may be able to shield you for the time being, but not forever, not to mention that your organization is unpredictable and untrustworthy.
On the other hand, you can always choose to have peace of mind by honoring your sense of duty and your allegiance to the Constitution and the law. You will stand the judgment of the people and posterity. You shall have no guilt toward the organization either, for you will have only done what you have pledged to do as a judge. To be sure, by doing so you might be exposing yourself to career risks, but it is unlikely that you too will immediately lose freedom simply because you have handed out a decision based on the Constitution and the law. Meanwhile, you will have issued a historic verdict. Between an unprecedented feat and some career risks, the choice is for you to make.
Making a decision based on the Constitution and the law, you will be writing a new page for the rule of law in China. You will even be turning a new page for us as a people. The biggest crisis we face as a people is the spiritual damage from the past and the present. More political persecution and more law-trumping legal decisions will inflict more damage and aggravate the crisis. You can help, even by a tiny degree, heal damage, mitigate antagonism and boost hope by carrying out judicial justice. As a people, we have been ravaged and depleted too much and for too long, and cannot afford any more of it. You can refrain from inflicting more on the nation by not using law to endorse political persecution.
These innocent citizens have spent birthdays, the moon festival, Christmas and the New Year in jail last year and they will likely spend the Chinese New Year of 2014 behind bars, all because they took the Constitution and the law too seriously and attempted to assert the human rights and civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the law. Now it is time for you, the judges presiding over their trials, to stand up against manipulation of the law and stop persecution. We ask you to make open, fair and judicious judgment on these cases, and rehabilitate the credibility of the Constitution and the law as well as your own dignity as judges. We ask you to restore the freedom of these innocent citizens and let them go home to reunite with their loved ones.
Dear judges, we honestly don’t have much to hope for under the current circumstances of the judiciary, but we do not want to give up the effort, so we write this letter to you. The Third Plenum of the 18th CCP Central Committee has emphasized judicial justice, and vowed to “let those who preside over trials make decisions, and let the judges take responsibility for their decisions.” You will have no excuses for not taking full charge of your actions. You will be presented with an equal opportunity to honor or shame. The moment is yours.
Citizens(in Pinyin order):
Ai Xiaoming (艾晓明), professor, Guangzhou;
Bi Kang (毕康), self-employed, poet, Nanjing;
Cai Shufang (蔡淑芳), citizen, Hong Kong;
Cai Yongmei (蔡咏梅), editor, Hong Kong;
Chen Weiqing (陈伟青), unemployed, Zhuhai;
Chen Yunfei (陈云飞), amateur animal trainer, Sichuan;
Chen Zhiguang (陈志光), civil servant, Guangzhou;
Chen Boliang (陈博良), self-employed, Changsha, Hunan;
Cheng Qiubo (成秋波), citizen, in the US currently;
Cheng Yao (程曜), professor, Beijing;
Ding Hua (丁华), retired teacher, Shanghai;
Dong Wenjie (董文杰), self-employed and volunteer, Yuncheng, Shanxi;
Fan Ren (梵·任), unemployed, Guiyang;
Feng Chongyi (冯崇义), academic, living in Sydney currently;
Guo Shaokun (郭少坤), handicapped police officer, Xuzhou, Jiangsu;
Guo Xianliang (郭贤良), engineer, Kunming;
Guo Yongliang (郭永亮), farmer, Baotou, Inner Mongolia;
Guo Yuhua (郭于华), professor, Beijing;
He Yang (何杨), independent documentary maker, Beijing;
He Shengjun (贺生军), citizen, Beijing;
Hua Ze (华泽), documentary maker, Beijing;
Huang Wuxian (黄无限), doctor, Sichuan;
Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), lawyer, Beijing;
Li Dawei (李大伟), citizen rights defender, Tianshui, Gansu;
Li Hongyu (李红雨), author, Beijing;
Li Jin (李锦), non-CCP political party member, Chongqing;
Li Weiguo (李维国), citizen, Guangzhou;
Li Xuezheng (李学政), self-employed, Shanghai;
Li Yong (李勇), self-employed, Wuhan;
Liang Haiyi (梁海怡), citizen, Guangdong;
Liang Lianfa (梁联发), retired, USA;
Liang Xiaojun (梁小军), lawyer, Beijing;
Liu Donghui (刘东辉), citizen, Yueyang, Hunan;
Liu Jianpeng (刘建鹏), citizen, living in Australia currently;
Liu Shuchao (刘书超), citizen, Zhengzhou;
Liu Sixin (刘四新), PhD in law, Beijing;
Liu Xiaolong (刘小龙), web development engineer, Hangzhou;
Lu Yinuo (陆以诺), missionary, Hangzhou;
Ma Bo (马波), author, Beijing;
Ma Yongtao (马永涛), farmer, Langfang, Hebei;
Ou Biaofeng (欧彪峰), citizen, Zhuzhou, Hunan;
Qin Weiping (秦伟平), independent economist, New York City currently;
Ren Ming (任铭), veteran, Shenzhen;
Shan Yajuan (单亚娟), medical doctor, Jixi city, Heilongjiang;
Shang Baojun (尚宝军), lawyer, Beijing;
Song Qingwen (宋庆文), citizen, Guangzhou;
Su Xiaoling (苏小玲), author, Beijing;
Su Zheng (苏征), corporate employee, Xi’an;
Sui Muqing (隋牧青), lawyer, Guangzhou;
Sun Weibang (孙维邦), citizen, France currently;
Tan Aijun (谭爱军), citizen, Guangxi;
Tang Jitian (唐吉田), lawyer, Beijing;
Tang Jingling (唐荆陵), lawyer, Guangzhou;
Tao Lishi (陶立诗), electric engineer, Beijing;
Teng Biao (滕彪), academic, Beijing;
Teng Peng (滕鹏), self-employed, Suzhou;
Tian Faquan (田发全), farmer and citizen, Shaanxi;
Tong Wenjie (童文杰), migrant worker, Hanshou, Hunan;
Wang Ce (王策), political scientist, Spain;
Wang Cheng (王成), lawyer, Hangzhou;
Wang Fulei (王福磊), fisherman, Shenzhen;
Wang Henggeng (王衡庚), PhD in mathematics, Hangzhou;
Wang Li’an (王立安), professor, Dalian;
Wang Qingying (王清营), citizen, Guangzhou;
Wang Yaoming (王耀明), Christian, Chongqing;
Wang Yimin (王译敏), student, Xi’an;
Wu Wenxing (巫文兴), security guard, Foshan, Guangdong;
Wu Hao (吴昊), white-collar worker, Anhui;
Wu Lebao (吴乐宝), citizen, Australia currently;
Wu Wei (吴伟), academic, Beijing;
Wu Zuolai (吴祚来), academic, Beijing;
Wu Yisan (武宜三), publisher, Hong Kong;
Xiang Li (向莉), curator, Beijing;
Xiao Guozhen (肖国珍), lawyer, in the US currently;
Xiao Shu (笑蜀，即陈敏), media professional, Guangzhou;
Xiao Yong (肖勇), citizen, Hunan;
Xie Li (解丽), Christian, Wuhan;
Xiong Ruopan (熊若磐), retiree, USA currently;
Xu Wenli (徐文立), retired senior fellow, Brown University, USA;
Xu Youyu (徐友渔), academic, Beijing;
Yin Longlong (殷龙龙), poet, Beijing;
Yang Gaofeng (杨高峰), citizen, Shangqiu;
Yang Jianli (杨建利), PRC citizen, Washington, DC, USA;
Yang Yu (杨雨), exile, Maryland, USA;
Yang Zi (羊子), retiree, USA;
Ye Kuangzheng (叶匡政), poet, Beijing;
Yu Fangqiang (于方强), NGO, Beijing;
Yu Xiangzhen (于向真), freelancer, Beijing;
Yu Yunfeng (于云峰), citizen, Harerbin;
Yu Qiyuan (余其元), citizen, Guangzhou;
Yuan Ya (袁亚), citizen, ezhou, Hubei;
Zhang Boshu (张博树), academic, Columbia University, USA;
Zhang Guiliang (张贵良), citizen, Sichuan;
Zhang Haitao (张海涛), self-employed, Urumqi;
Zhang Hongjun (张红军), actor, Sichuan;
Zhang Hui (张慧), teacher, Shangdong;
Zhang Hushan (张虎山), pipe installer, Wuwei, Gansu;
Zhang Kun (张昆), participant in the New Citizens Movement, Xuzhou;
Zhang Shihe (张世和), documentary maker, Beijing;
Zhang Xiaofeng (张晓峰), citizen, France currently;
Zhao Shujun (赵淑君), citizen, Hangzhou;
Zhao Yong (赵勇), self-employed, Beijing;
Zhu Chengzhi (朱承志), social activist, Shaoyang, Hunan;
Zhu Yan (朱晏), secretary of Outdoors Club Beijing Chapter, actor, Beijing;
The campaign continues to collect signatures and publish them on the campaign site in the coming days. Citizens wishing to join this appeal, please send your name, profession, and location (city) to firstname.lastname@example.org.