Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition News and Article Release Issue: A28-O7
Release Date: September 18, 2003
Topic: Wei Meets Craner and Calls Members to prepare for next UNHCHR in Geneva

Editor's note:

On August 19, as I was driving to Washington, DC to participate in an upcoming meeting with Mr. Craner the next day, I heard the news of the explosion at the UN headquarters in Baghdad and that Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello was hurt. A few hours later, he died. Great sadness overwhelmed me for the rest of my driving hours.

Only four months ago, I met him in Geneva where he served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (see our newsletter A13-G5). The photos we took together were the only ones of hundreds that I took this year that did not come out quite right (the photo link: http://weijingsheng.org/pic/newsletters/newsletters2003/UN0304deMello.jpg . The third from left is Mr. De Mello; the fourth from left is Ciping Huang). So even a physicist had to say: "I hope it was not an omen."

It has not been easy as a human rights defender. The day I called myself as a human rights defender was the day I realized the additional danger I had to face. The danger comes with the path we choose, not bad luck. In our struggle for other's freedom and peace, we are paying the price of our own freedom and peace.

Now, after years have passed, all the struggling has made me learn that the path is not just very difficult, but dangerous, even deadly. We have received oral and written threats for what we have done, threats even to our lives, even on the USA soil. Consciously, one has to bravely prepare for tragedy and death with expectation, instead of with fear. Nevertheless, when a fellow human rights defender falls, the sense of loss and sorrow is only greater.

That day, I had a close call of an accident myself. It made me further realize that human life is fragile, but not the human spirit.

Hereby, I want to dedicate this issue to the lives lost during the August 19's bombing, especially to Mr. De Mello, this leader and martyr of the human rights defenders.

-- Ciping Huang


Wei Jingsheng Meets U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Craner and Calls Coalition Members to prepare for the next UNHCHR in Geneva, Switzerland

On August 20, 2003, Mr. Wei Jingsheng met with the US Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Craner to exchange information and discuss Chinese human rights issues. Mr. Wei again urged the top official of the State Department in charge of human rights to push for Chinese human rights improvements, especially to make an effort to bring a resolution condemning the Chinese government's human rights record to the United Nations' higher commission on human rights (UNHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland.

(Since he regained his freedom, Mr. Wei has been in Europe every spring except this year, attending the annual human rights commission in Geneva and lobbying the US and other democratic nations in an effort to bring a resolution to condemn the Chinese government's human rights record. Although a resolution has not been passed, we have received significant feedback from dissidents in China reporting the positive outcome of such an effort.)

During the meeting, Mr. Craner told Mr. Wei that the US government has been very disappointed with the Chinese government for its poor human rights records, as well as the pledges they did not fulfill. The whole State Department knows such a fact, and they do not like it, Mr. Craner told Wei.

Mr. Craner told us in detail that not only has the Chinese government not realized a list of pledges they made to the US government regarding improvement of their human rights conditions, they simply behave as if without knowledge of such pledges which were made during a meeting that several dozen people attended. It was exactly these promises that in part made the Bush government not pursue a resolution against the Chinese government this year. So presently, the US government is considering bringing the China resolution to the table for the next year UNHCHR and is actively seeking cooperation and co-sponsorship elsewhere.

Mr. Wei told Mr. Craner that this resolution is our goal and he will add his effort to lobbying other organizations and other nations' governments as well. Mr. Wei also told Mr. Craner that the very fact of the possibility of presenting such a resolution would help the hard fighting Chinese people inside China. The last two years have been very difficult for our fellows inside China from the lack such a resolution. (One example illustrating the effect of a resolution: An Jun was the founder of the China Corruption Monitor. His writings were used as evidence of anti-state activities and he was sentenced 4 years. An's verdict was not announced until April 19, 2000, the day after the UN high commission on human rights failed to pass a US sponsored resolution to condemn Chinese human rights abuses.)

Mr. Wei pointed out that such a failure of the Chinese government's pledge is not due to personnel changes or leadership transition, it is really the strategy of the Chinese government which had no sincerity but was just trying to pass another year with its lies and deception. We must not to trust what the Chinese government says but watch what it does. After all, hooligans will not honor a gentlemen's bargain, unless they have to.

As our coalition members know, despite our effort, the last two years have been the most disappointing and difficult years for us in Geneva, not just due to the deterioration of human rights in China, but also due to the lack of pressure applied to the Chinese government during the annual UNHCHR. This failure was partially due to inadequate preparation, lack of any operation money, but largely due to the undesirable international atmosphere especially when other political considerations were put above human rights, even at the UNHCHR where one would think human rights should be the first priority.

The result was that not only human rights conditions in China got worse; even our own members were intimidated and harassed by Chinese government agents both in Geneva during the UNHCHR session and when they returned back to China.

We welcome the US government's considering presenting a resolution condemning the Chinese government's human rights record next spring. We urge our friends and members to continue our quest and effort to reach such a goal. The more pressure we apply to the Chinese government, the more relief our countrymen will feel back in China.

Hereby, as the Chairman of the Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition, Mr. Wei Jingsheng urges the members of our coalition, especially those in Europe, to get prepared for the upcoming UNHCHR annual meeting, contact the NGO's and governments of your residence, collect the information about human right abuses in China, and prepare demonstration material for our coalition meeting next spring in Geneva.


8月19日,就在我开车前往华盛顿,准备参加第二天和克莱纳先生会谈的时候,我听到了巴格达联合国总部被炸的消息。谢久.维也拉.德.梅洛(Sergio Vieira de Mello)先生在这次事件中受伤,几个小时以后不幸身亡。后来的几小时行程中,我为此一直沉浸在沉痛和悲哀之中。

仅仅四个月前,我还在日内瓦和德.梅洛先生相见。那时他是联合国人权高级专员(见我们的新闻发布A13-G5)。我和施杰欧.迈龙先生的合影,是我一年中一堆相片中的唯一不成功的(参见网页联接:http://weijingsheng.org/pic/newsletters/newsletters2003/UN0304deMello.jpg 左起第三为德.梅洛先生,左起第四为黄慈萍)。看到这样的相片,甚至物理学家也会说:希望这不是背运的暗示。





-- 黄慈萍















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