China: Yan Zhengxue, human rights activist | Letter

Re: Yan Zhengxue, Human rights activist

To: President Hu Jintao, People’s Republic of China

From: Charles B. Davison, member of LRWC

Date: 2004-09-29

I am writing to you at this time concerning the case of Yan Zhengxue who has been detained since September 14, 2004 when he was arrested by police in Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province. Mr. Yan is a well-known defender of human rights in your country, whose efforts at achieving peaceful change in your country are well-known and widely respected. I am a member of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, which is a committee of Canadian lawyers dedicated to promoting and protecting the rule of law and the independence and security of human rights defenders around the world. A key component of LRWC’s work is promoting the implementation and enforcement of human rights by protecting lawyers and other advocates who defend them.

We are extremely concerned about Mr. Yan’s present detention and the motivations of the authorities who have brought this about. Mr. Yan has recently been the subject of defamation and intimidation campaigns at the hands of persons we have reason to believe to be connected to the same police and public authorities who have now detained him.

Furthermore, it would appear that Mr. Yan’s arrest and detention amount to a flagrant violation of Article 9.3 of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations’ General Assembly on December 9, 1998. That provision enshrines the right of all persons to complain about government officials or bodies in relation to the violation of human rights, and to seek appropriate remedies pursuant to law. There would appear to be good and valid reason in the present situation to believe that Mr. Yan’s detention arises directly from his advocacy and other work done to protect and advance the cause of human rights in China.

We accordingly call upon you to ensure that Mr. Yan is protected from any and all forms of physical and psychological abuse or mistreatment, and to release him immediately. Furthermore, we call for the immediate cessation of all threats and harassment aimed at him and any other person defending human rights in China, in conformity with Article 9.3 of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

Thank you for the concern we know you will bring to this situation and for your immediate action in freeing Mr. Yan. We will look forward to hearing of his release in the next few days.