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Letter to the Chinese President on behalf of the ISC supporting the protest of the Canadian Friends of Gao Zhisheng

March 04, 2009

H.E. Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
c/o Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Dear President Hu:

We are writing to you on behalf of the nongovernmental International Steering Committee of the Community of Democracies (ISC/CD), in solidarity with the Canadian Friends of Gao Zhisheng to support and reiterate their call in a March 2 letter for the immediate release of Mr. Gao. Mr. Gao’s reputation as a leading advocate for the most vulnerable members of Chinese society and his courageous support for human rights in China have made his case a leading concern of the international community, and the knowledge that his suffering is endured regularly by the Chinese people at the hands of your own government is a source of continued concern.

The blatant abuse of Mr. Gao and his family, including police attacks on his wife and children and the horrific torture he has endured under state custody, reminds us that such experiences appear to be tragically common in China, as the same methods have been employed in your government’s repression of Falun Gong practitioners. The Canadian Friends of Gao Zhisheng rightly note that as discussions to plan for a “harmonious society” are about to begin in the National Congress of People’s Representatives, “you should realize the profound irony of your pursuit of ‘harmony’ in face of your government’s violent offense against your own people, even on the basis of your own very narrow interpretation of human rights.”

As the letter from the Canadian Friends of Gao Zhisheng makes clear, Mr. Gao is representative of the best that the Chinese people has to offer and “one of the truest patriots of your country.” His continued imprisonment and the violent repression of the Chinese people is an embarrassment to your government that prevents China from assuming the role of a respected world leader. Mr. Gao’s immediate release alone is insufficient to overcome this, but it is a necessary step to place China in conformity with recognized standards of human rights.


Robert R. LaGamma

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