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Home » Human Rights & Civil Rights » To American Bar Association With Regard to ABA Human Rights Award to Wang Yu

To American Bar Association With Regard to ABA Human Rights Award to Wang Yu

August 6, 2016

 

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Over the last week, we all wondered whether the American Bar Association would go ahead with conferring its inaugural International Human Rights Award to the Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Yu. On August 1 she appeared on camera in China, repenting her courageous work fighting for justice and the rule of law, and repudiating the ABA award because she is a Chinese person and loves her country — as though receiving the award would be a betrayal of China.

It was indeed Wang Yu speaking, but from an undisclosed location, after nearly 13 months in secret detention, to three people whose faces and identities were hidden. We cannot begin to fathom what has happened to her and dozens of other human rights lawyers and activists who have been detained — but luckily now the whole world understands the simple fact that when she’s not free, she’s not free to speak her mind.

One thing we do know is that the Chinese government hates international recognition of the courageous Chinese citizens who seek to uphold justice, and who work to make China a freer and more just place. Hu Jia’s own account illustrates this perfectly:

In 2008, I was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison on charges of “inciting subversion of state power,” because I engaged in activities to promote human rights and liberty before the Olympic Games.

The European Parliament awarded me the Sakharov Prize, and I was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. When I was in prison, the head of the Beijing municipal political police led a group of public security and foreign ministry officials to pay a visit to me in prison — they were putting me under intense pressure, trying to force me to make a public announcement that I rejected both the Sakharov Prize and the nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize.

In exchange, these officials said that they would reduce my sentence by 2.5 years, and also pay me double the cash award of the Sakharov Prize, as economic “compensation.” These secret political police, and the jailers in their charge, lobbied me with this proposal on up to seven occasions. I flatly rejected all of these despicable, filthy political dealings. Thus, I am deeply aware of how moral support, and awards from the international community, place the Communist Party’s security organs and foreign affairs officials under enormous pressure.

We know too well what happened after Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize: China threw a tantrum at Norway, retaliating against not just the Norwegian government, but also salmon farmers.

We applaud the ABA for going forward with the inaugural International Human Rights Award to Wang Yu as planned. It’s the right thing to do.

This was an extraordinary week. In four days, a Chinese court in Tianjin tried four “subversion” cases at lightning speed, each a tightly-orchestrated affair that lasted only a couple of hours. Family-appointed lawyers were replaced by puppet lawyers that were there to merely stand in as “defense counsel,” to follow the script: no wives, relatives, friends, or free members of the public were allowed in court, or anywhere near the courthouse. Of course, all four were convicted.

China wants the world to believe that the cases were processed in court, but these show trials have only succeeded in once again affirming what we already knew: there is no such thing as the rule of law under the tyranny of dictatorship. Indeed, there is no such thing as a court.

What’s on trial, of course, is once again China’s conscience. These citizens, whether lawyers or human rights defenders, are committed to seeking basic justice according to the Chinese law, and helping those most vulnerable. Over the years, they came to the rescue of the families of victims of poisoned milk powder, victims of violent forced demolitions, private entrepreneurs whose assets were illegally expropriated, believers who were persecuted… the list goes on.

Sadly, in most cases, they were not been able to “rescue” those they tried to rescue, given that no courts in China actually uphold justice. But they kept on, tenaciously, one case at a time. In the process, they have come to ask the question of how to make China a just place. They met in restaurants and in house churches, discussing plans to provide legal assistance and to start public opinion campaigns for victims of injustice. These meetings in good faith became “evidence” of their supposed subversive intent, and grounds for torture and imprisonment.

These lawyers and activists are part of a long tradition of Chinese citizens who fought for their basic human and political rights: the Xidan Democracy Wall, the Tiananmen Movement, the opposition movement of the 1990s, the rights defense movement since the early 2000s, the New Citizens Movement, and the struggle for rule of law as represented by China’s small but brave band of human rights lawyers and activists.

They are, together, the rock of China, and the salt of the earth.

As ludicrous as these show trials were, this week’s performance was not confined to the courtroom. Over the past week, a narrative of an American-led international conspiracy has been propagated at a hysterical pitch, on social media, on CCTV, and in the front pages of the Party’s mouthpieces. The regime has claimed that these lawyers and activists are nothing but pawns of the United States and the West in general who, scheming for a “color revolution,” want to destabilize China and overthrow the government.

This war of propaganda does not just aim at fanning nationalist, anti-American sentiment. It also aims at intimidating the U. S. (which, by the way, has been too accommodating to China at the expense of undermining its own values), and the international community. They want the rest of the world to scurry off at the very word “subversion”; they want to see that Chinese citizens who embrace dignity, freedom, and justice get no support, and will no longer even dare to seek support from the outside world — whether lawyers, journalists, workers, parents, netizens, farmers, or even the Communist Party’s own cadres, for that matter.

That’s why we are here today, to show our support and appreciation for ABA for its steadfastness in upholding this important award to Wang Yu, whose has been known as Zhan Shen, “the warrior goddess,” to those who knew her. She will not be able to speak as a free person anytime soon, nor will she any time be able to travel across China to help those she strived to assist: the school girls who were presented to officials as sexual gifts, the practitioners of Falun Gong detained and tortured, or farmers who defended their homes from forced demolition.

But there might be a day when she, like the Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee, will speak out, with a few simple words, to tear down the wall of lies that has enclosed her for the time being.

No one comes to claim this award today. Because of this absence, and the void it presents, we feel we must speak.

This is a time when the international community, and indeed the United States, must recalibrate its commitment to the values the human race has come to embrace, for the sake of peace and security on earth.

 

A group of Chinese activists currently living in the U. S.

August 6, 2016

 


就王宇律师获奖、709非法审判致美国律师协会

这些天包括我们在内的很多人都想知道美国律师协会是否会继续将它的首届国际人权奖颁发给中国维权律师王宇。8月1日王宇律师出现在中国官方发布的一个视频上,否定她为正义和法治而付出的努力,拒绝美国律协的奖项,她说她是一个中国人,爱自己的祖国,言下之意是,如果接受该奖项就意味着背叛中国。

这的确是王宇在说话,但她在一个不为人知的地方,经历了近13个月的秘密监禁,面对着三个不明身份、不露面容的人。我们无法推测这13个月里她和另外20多位被监禁的人权律师和人权活动者经历了什么——但是整个世界都了解一个简单的事实,即她不自由。不自由也包括言论不自由。 

 

我们确知的一点是,中国政府仇恨那些为自由和公正而努力的中国公民获得国际认可与嘉奖。2008年萨哈罗夫奖获得者胡佳比我们更加了解这一点:

2008年我因在奥运会前推进争取自由和人权而被以”煽动颠覆国家政权罪”判处有期徒刑3年6个月。欧洲议会将萨哈罗夫人权奖颁发给我,同时我也获得了诺贝尔和平奖的提名。中国北京市的政治警察头子曾代表中共的公安部、外交部到监狱来谈判,要求我声明拒绝萨哈罗夫人权奖的授予和诺贝尔和平奖的提名。作为出价,中共政府承诺至少缩短两年6个月的刑期,并且给予我双倍于奖金数额的经济”补偿”。政治秘密警察和他们委托监狱方的游说多达7次。这些卑鄙肮脏的政治交易都被我拒绝了。而我可以深深感觉到来自国际社会与人权相关的道义支持和奖项给共产党的强力部门及外交系统多么大的压力。

我们都知道在刘晓波获得了诺贝尔和平奖之后发生了什么:中国对挪威乍然变脸,不但气咻咻地报复挪威政府、机构,而且报复三文鱼渔民。 

我们赞扬美国律协继续按计划将该奖项颁给王宇。这样做是正确的。

过去的一周是不同寻常的一周。中国天津的一家法庭在四天里审判了四个“颠覆罪”案件,每场庭审都是一场严格操控的表演,并以闪电的速度,短短几个小时表演完毕。家属聘请的律师被对政府言听计从的律师取代;被告的妻子、亲属、朋友,或公众成员都不许到法庭,甚至不能靠近法院大楼。四个人都被定罪。 

中国想要全世界相信这些案件是经过法庭正当审理的,但这些假庭审只是再次成功地印证了我们早已明白的东西: 在专制强权下没有法治这样的东西,独裁下甚至没有法庭这样的东西。

真正受到审判的是中国的良心。这些公民,无论是律师还是人权捍卫者,致力于根据中国现有的法律框架追求基本正义,帮助弱势群体。这些年来,他们去拯救毒奶粉的受害者家庭、强拆受害者、被非法剥夺财产的私人企业主、被迫害的信仰者….这个名单可以列得很长。

可悲的是,在很多案件中,他们并没有能力去“拯救”那些他们试图拯救的人,因为在中国,法庭的存在并非公正司法、伸张正义。但是他们坚韧不拔,一个一个案件地做,一次一次地努力。在这个过程中,他们不可避免地思考如何让中国成为一个正义之地。他们在饭馆里或家庭教堂里聚集,讨论如何蒙冤的受难者提供法律帮助,如何激发公众舆论的支持。这些聚餐和讨论现在变成了他们进行颠覆的“证据”。 

这些律师和活动者是为基本人权和政治权利奋斗的的长期传统的一部分:西单民主墙、天安门运动、1990年的反对党组党活动、从2000年以来的维权运动、新公民运动、以及今天广为人知的“709事件”。 

他们是中国的磐石,和地上的盐。 

这些法庭表演秀固然可笑,但却不是这个星期全部的剧目。过去几天中国在社交媒体、CCTV近乎歇斯底里地推出了一个美国主使的国际阴谋理论。党国声称这些律师和活动者不过是美国和西方势力的爪牙,图谋“颜色革命”,意图搞乱中国并推翻中国。

这场宣传战不仅仅意在国内煽动民族主义反美情绪。它也旨在对美国和国际社会进行威胁和恐吓。他们想要外部世界被“颠覆”这个刺耳的词汇所震慑并急急回避;他们想切断那些追求尊严、自由和正义的公民从外部得到的道义支持,同时通过严厉惩罚他们,使他们不再敢从外界寻求支持——无论是律师、记者、工人、家长、网民、农民,甚至共产党内持不同意见的干部。 

这就是我们今天来这里的原因:我们来向美国律协坚持给王宇颁发这个重要奖项而表达我们的支持和感谢。王宇曾被誉为“战神”,但是我们很长时间内可能无法听到她自由说话,也不会看到她像过去那样风尘仆仆在中国大地奔波,帮助那些被侮辱与被损害的人,如被作为性享受礼物提供给官员的海南少女、被关押黑监狱并遭到酷刑的法轮功练习者、捍卫自己家园不受强拆的农民。 

也许有一天,她也会像香港书商林荣基那样向世界道出真相,用寥寥数语,令谎言之墙轰然倒塌。

今天无人来到这里领奖。因为这个缺席,这个空空的黑洞,我们觉得我们必须发声。 

我们到了这样一个时候,国际社会、特别是美国必须重新调置其对人类价值观的尊奉与投入。这些价值观正在遭到威胁、恐吓与践踏。自由必须得到捍卫与支持,不管在哪里,因为自由不分国界,是人类共同的利益。

 

一群目前居住在美国的中国人权捍卫者

2016年8月6日


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8 Comments

  1. Frank says:

    Wang Yu’s confession was obviously scripted by her captors, and is understandable in light of her incarceration by regime authorities for over a year of incommunicado detention. Hu Jia’s comments about similar demands from the authorities to make a scripted confession are entirely relevant here.

  2. […] Ilham’s Sakharov nomination has Hu Jia feeling both glad and anxious. It so happened that, on another occasion recently he recounted how, in 2008 while in prison, the Communist Party authorities tried to force him to reject the prize: […]

  3. […] Ilham’s Sakharov nomination has Hu Jia feeling both glad and anxious. It so happened that, on another occasion recently he recounted how, in 2008 while in prison, the Communist Party authorities tried to force him to reject the prize: […]

  4. […] Ilham’s Sakharov nomination has Hu Jia feeling both glad and anxious. It so happened that, on another occasion recently he recounted how, in 2008 while in prison, the Communist Party authorities tried to force him to reject the prize: […]

  5. […] To American Bar Association With Regard to ABA Human Rights Award to Wang Yu, August 6, 2016. […]

  6. […] she was in prison, Wang Yu underwent surgery for breast cancer. Last August she was awarded the inaugural International Human Rights Award given by the American Bar […]

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