03 December 2013

Chinese Human Rights Lawyers: Appeal to Safeguard Human Rights and Realise Constitutional Government

http://wqw2010.blogspot.hk/2013/12/blog-post_6186.html 

On the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the proclamation and enactment of the current Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, we as legal professionals and citizens make the following appeal based on our consciences and in accordance with the Constitution and laws:

I. Human rights and freedoms must be safeguarded

We must reaffirm Article 2 of the Constitution of the PRC, which reads, ‘All power of the People’s Republic of China belongs to the People [renmin]’; Article 33, which reads, ‘All persons who have the nationality of the PRC are PRC citizens. Citizens of the PRC are equal before the law. The State respects and protects human rights’; Article 35, which reads, ‘PRC citizens enjoy freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, procession and demonstration’; and Article 36, which reads, ‘Citizens of the PRC enjoy freedom of religious belief.’

We must also reaffirm Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance’; as well as its Article 19, ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers’; and Article 20, ‘(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.’

On the basis of the Constitution of the PRC and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we believe that the following three points may be regarded as a basic consensus amongst the people of this nation:

  1. If they do not have the basic rights of citizens, 'the people' will always be subjects, never citizens. 
  2. A ‘State’ that does not protect its citizens’ basic rights is never a People’s Republic but always a dictatorship. 
  3. A ‘Constitution’ that cannot protect the citizens’ basic rights it not a ‘Constitution’ but, rather, waste paper.

II. Immediately release Liu Ping, Xu Zhiyong, Guo Feixiong, Wang Gongquan, Liu Hu and other citizens

According to incomplete statistics, 44 citizens, namely Liu Yuandong 刘远东, Yuan Dong 袁冬, Ma Xinli 马新立, Zhang Baocheng 张宝成, Li Wei 李蔚, Wang Yonghong 王永红, Ding Jiaxi 丁家喜, Sun Hanhui 孙含会, Zhao Changqing 赵常青, Qi Yueying 齐月英, Liu Ping 刘萍, Wei Zhongping 魏忠平, Li Sihua 李思华, Yuan Bing 袁兵 (Yuan Fengchu 袁奉初), Huang Wenxun 黄文勋, Yuan Xiaohua 袁小华, Gu Yimin 顾义民, Zheng Qiuwu 郑酋午, Yang Lin 杨林, Zhang Xiangzhong 张向忠, Ding Hongfen 丁红芬, Shen Aibin 沈爱斌, Yin Xijin 殷锡金, Qu Fengsheng 瞿峰盛, Shen Guodong 沈果冬, Shi Gaohong 施高洪, Li Gang 李刚, Li Huanjun 李焕君, Song Guangqiang 宋光强 (Song Ze 宋泽), Xu Zhiyong 许志永, Zhang Lin 张林, Liu Jiacai 刘家财, Guo Feixiong 郭飞雄 (Yang Maodong 杨茂东), Li Huaping 李化平, Sun Desheng 孙德胜, Yang Tingjian 杨霆剑, Liu Hu 刘虎, Yao Cheng 姚诚, Cheng Yulan 程玉兰, Zhou Weilin 周维林, Lu Xueqin 陆雪琴, Zhao Haitong 赵海通, Wu Guijun 吴贵军, and Wang Gongquan 王功权 were detained or arrested on various charges between the beginning of this year and 13 September 2013 because they had exercised their rights as citizens.

According to information available to us and based on our professional legal understanding and basic human conscience, we can make the assessment that they have not committed the crimes they are accused of: they are merely people who exercised the rights they enjoy in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the PRC Constitution. They are seekers and promoters of fairness and justice and excellent, law-abiding citizens. They are not only innocent of any crimes but have performed meritoriously. They are the nation’s conscience and the country’s backbone, and they ought not to be thrown into prison.

III. Immediately release without charges all other citizens who have been detained, arrested, or even convicted of crimes merely for exercising their freedom of speech, freedom of religion and other citizens’ rights

On the basis of the constitutional principles and provisions of the UDHR reaffirmed above sub § I, detaining, arresting or convicting citizens for exercising their basic citizens’ rights such as freedom of speech or religion is not only contrary to the UDHR and the Constitution but also constitutes an abuse of basic human rights.

IV. A special investigative commission ought to be appointed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee to carry out an investigation into the legal liability of those criminals who, in violation of the law, led and implemented massive abuses of citizens’ constitutional rights

It is entirely irregular and uncommon for the exercise of constitutional citizens’ rights and basic human rights to meet with such cruel and massive repression. Given the seriousness of this problem, we call on the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, State Council, Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuracy to immediately and publicly respond in a positive way to such serious abuses of the constitutional rights of citizens and basic human rights, to set the record straight and to eliminate suspicions and concerns in society.

We strongly urge the NPC Standing Committee to set up an investigative commission in accordance with Article 71 of the Constitution, ‘The National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee may, when they deem it necessary, appoint a commission of investigation into specific questions and adopt relevant resolutions in the light of their reports,’ in order to carry out an investigation into these massive abuses of citizens’ constitutional rights and human rights violations and to punish severely and in accordance with law those responsible.

V. Establishment of a Constitutional Court specially tasked with constitutional review, rigorous limitation of the power of the government and the protection of citizens’ rights

The Constitution is the standard on which a country’s political operation is based and the basis for protection of people’s rights. If there is no respect for the Constitution, people’s rights will never be protected and political chaos will inevitably ensue.

The final section of the Preamble of the Constitution states clearly: ‘This Constitution, in legal form, affirms the achievements of the struggles of the Chinese people of all nationalities and defines the basic system and basic tasks of the State; it is the fundamental law of the State and has supreme legal authority. The people of all nationalities, all State organs, the armed forces, all political parties and public organizations and all enterprises and institutions in the country must take the Constitution as the basic standard of conduct, and they have the duty to uphold the dignity of the Constitution and ensure its implementation.’

Many national leaders have on multiple occasions and in various places affirmed the need to protect the authority of the Constitution and safeguard its implementation.

The Constitution has provisions for this, and national leaders frequently emphasise it; yet, there are frequent large-scale violations of citizens’ basic rights. This situation is closely related to the fact that, at present, legislative powers in China are extremely decentralised and complex, while there is no effective constitutional review:

  1. Apart from the NPC and its Standing Committee, the following all possess their own legislative powers: the State Council and its Ministries and Ministry-level Committees; the People’s Congresses and their respective Standing Committees in each province, autonomous region provincial-level municipality and larger city; the People’s Congresses of each autonomous region, autonomous prefecture and autonomous county; and the People’s Governments of each province, autonomous region, provincial-level municipality and larger city. Their legislation is in many ways in violation of the Constitution and of citizens’ rights: for example, the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations, as well as low-level legislation like the Regulations for Registration and Management of Social Organisations, the Regulations on the Management of Publications, the Regulation on Radio and Television Management, and the Regulation on the Management of Films have drawn criticism from society for many years. These laws and regulations require prior approval and registration for speech, publication, association, assembly, and demonstration without regard for international standards; in so doing, they undermine the Constitution and deprive citizens of their rights. They are patently unconstitutional and must be corrected. 
  2. At the same time, the Law on Legislation makes each of these bodies responsible for reviewing the constitutionality and legality of legislation passed by its subordinates, but this vague and decentralised authority leads in practice to the terrible situation in which no body or agency can truly carry out constitutional review aimed at upholding the authority of the Constitution. A good example of this is the bad legislation surrounding re-education through labour, which despite being clearly unconstitutional was left unrectified for many years.

In light of how commonly these types of lower-level legislation violate the Constitution and the seriousness of the threat this poses and adopting the international experience in establishing constitutional courts, we hereby make the following public appeal: revise the Constitution to add to the institutions of the State a “constitutional court” with exclusive responsibility to handle constitutional review of matters involving abstract principles, concrete individual cases, and constitutional petitions by citizens in order to ensure the legal supremacy of the Constitution of the PRC and safeguard citizens’ constitutional rights.

Only when human rights are supreme can there be a republic; only when the Constitution is supreme can there be constitutional government; only when the law is supreme can there be rule of law.

The tide of constitutional government is enormous and mighty. The common aspirations of the people cannot be thwarted.

Chinese Human Rights Lawyers:

Wang Cheng 王成 (Zhejiang,lawyer)
Jiang Tianyong 江天勇 (Beijing, lawyer)
Tang Jitian 唐吉田 (Beijing, lawyer)
Zhang Lei 张磊 (Beijing, lawyer)
Liu Weiguo 刘卫国 (Shandong, lawyer)
Li Heping 李和平 (Beijing, lawyer)
Pang Kun 庞 琨 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Li Subin 李苏滨 (Beijing, lawyer)
Wang Quanping 王全平 (Guangdong , lawyer)
Tong Chaoping 童朝平 (Beijing, lawyer)
Li Fangping 李方平 (Beijing, lawyer)
Chen Jian’gang 陈建刚 (Beijing, lawyer)
Ge Yongxi 葛永喜 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Wu Kuiming 吴魁明 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Sui Muqing 隋牧青 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Chen Keyun 陈科云 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Liu Zhengqing 刘正清 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Liu Shihui 刘士辉 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Wu Zhenqi 吴镇琦 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Liang Xiaojun 梁小军 (Beijing, lawyer)
Zhang Keke 张科科 (Hubei, lawyer)
Lan Zhixue 兰志学 (Beijing, lawyer)
Xie Yang 谢 阳 (Hunan, lawyer)
Chang Boyang 常伯阳 (Henan, lawyer)
Fu Yonggang 付永刚 (Shandong, lawyer)
Xu Can 徐灿 (Beijing , lawyer)
Luo Xi 罗茜 (Hunan, legal worker)
Ge Wenxiu 葛文秀 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Chen Wuquan 陈武权 (Beijing, lawyer)
Teng Biao 滕彪 (Beijing, scholar)
Hu Guiyun 胡贵云 (Beijing, lawyer)
Zhao Yonglin 赵永林 (Shandong, lawyer)
Zhang Chuanli 张传利 (Beijing, lawyer)
Liu Wei 刘巍 (Beijing, lawyer)
Tang Jingling 唐荆陵 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Liu Jinbin 刘金滨 (Shandong, lawyer)
Zhou Lixin 周立新 (Beijing, lawyer)
Chen Jinxue 陈进学 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Fan Biaowen 范标文 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Long Yuanfu 龙元富 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Liang Xiubo 梁秀波 ( Henan, lawyer)
Li Weida 李威达 (Hebei, lawyer)
Yu Quan 于全 (Sichuan, lawyer)
Liu Wei 刘伟 (Henan, lawyer)
Wang Zongyue 王宗跃 (Guizhou, lawyer)
Li Xiongbing 黎雄兵 (Beijing, lawyer)
Xiao Fanghua 肖芳华 ( Guangdong , lawyer)
Li Jinxing 李金星 (Shandong, lawyer)
Shi Yongsheng 石永胜 (Hebei, lawyer)
Li Guobei 李国蓓 (Beijing, lawyer)
Zhang Guo 张国 (Hunan, lawyer)
Wang Liao 汪廖 (Zhejiang, lawyer)
Jiang Yuanmin 蒋援民 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Guo Lianhui 郭莲辉 (Jiangxi, lawyer)
Guo Xinrong 郭新嵘 (Beijing, lawyer)
Li Changming 李长明 (Beijing, lawyer)
Wei Youyuan 魏友援 (Jiangxi, lawyer)
Feng Yanqiang 冯延强 (Shandong, lawyer)
Jiang Yongji 蒋永继 (Gansu, lawyer)
Liang Lanxiang 梁澜馨 (Hebei, lawyer)
Tian Yuan 田园 (Hunan, lawyer)
Li Dawei 李大伟 (Gansu, legal worker)
Chen Nanshi 陈南石 (Hunan, lawyer)
Shi Zhenggang 施正刚 (Jiangsu, lawyer)
Li Changqing 李长青 (Beijing, lawyer)
Liu Jinxiang 刘金湘 (Shandong, lawyer)
Chen Yixuan 陈以轩 (Hunan, lawyer)
Zhang Zhongshi 张重实 (Hunan, lawyer)
Xue Rongming 薛荣民 (Shanghai, lawyer)
Wang Xing 王兴 (Beijing, lawyer)
Lin Qilei 蔺其磊 (Beijing, lawyer)
Huang Yizhi 黄溢智 (Beijing, lawyer)
Wang Bijun 王必君 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Zhang Xiaodan 张潇丹 (Hubei, lawyer)
Qin Yongpei 覃永沛 (Guangxi, lawyer)
Qin Chenshou 覃臣寿 (Guangxi, lawyer)
Dong Qianyong 董前勇 (Beijing, lawyer)
Zhang Ying 张颖 (Sichuan, lawyer)
Wen Yu 闻宇 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Lu Siwei 卢思位 (Sichuan, lawyer)
Li Ruyu 李如玉 (Jiangsu, law PhD)
Xu Xianghui 徐向辉 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Gan Weidong 干卫东 (Xinjiang, lawyer)
Zheng Enchong 郑恩宠 (Shanghai, lawyer)
Cai Ying 蔡瑛 (Hunan, lawyer)
Liu Lianhe 刘连贺 (Tianjin, lawyer)
Zhang Jinhong 张锦宏 (Henan, lawyer)
Wang Yu 王宇 (Beijing, lawyer)
Wang Yajun 王雅军 (Beijing, lawyer)
Xiao Guozhen 肖国珍 (Beijing, lawyer)
Wei Liangyue 韦良月 (Heilongjiang, lawyer)
Ding Xikui 丁锡奎 (Beijing, lawyer)
Shao Zhenzhong 邵振中 (Shandong, lawyer)
Huang Jian 黄建 (Sichuan, lawyer)
Yang Xuan 杨璇 (Hunan, lawyer)
Yan Wangli 燕旺利 (Hunan, lawyer)
Liu Ming 刘明 (Hunan, lawyer)
Xiao Yunyang 萧云阳 (Guizhou, lawyer)
Wen Haibo 温海波 (Beijing, lawyer)
Liu Sixin 刘四新 (Beijing, law Ph.D.)
Shu Xiangxin 舒向新 (Shandong, lawyer)
Xu Zhong 徐忠 (Shandong, lawyer)
Wamg Shengsheng 王胜生 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Huang Simin 黄思敏 (Hubei, lawyer)
Zhu Yingming 朱应明 (Jiangsu, lawyer)
Xie Yanyi 谢燕益 (Beijing, lawyer)
Yang Zaixin 杨在新 (Guangxi, lawyer)
Song Xiaowen 宋效文 (Chongqing, lawyer)
Zhang Jiankang 张鉴康 (Shaanxi, lawyer)
Zhou Houyou 周后有 (Hunan, lawyer)
Wang Quanzhang 王全璋 (Beijing, lawyer)
Zhu Yukun 储玉昆 (Beijing, lawyer)
Hou Lingxian 候领献 (Heilongjiang, lawyer)
Wang Yan 王衍 (Shaanxi, legal worker)
Li Qin 李琴 (Shaanxi, lawyer)
Zhang Weiyu 张维玉 (Shandong, lawyer)
Li Zhiyong 李志勇 (Guangdong, lawyer)
Qin Lei 秦雷 (Shanghai, lawyer)
Zhou Shimin 周世敏 (Jiangxi, lawyer)
Yin Dan 尹丹 (Beijing, lawyer)
Mo Hongluo 莫宏洛 (Henan, lawyer)
Zheng Xiang 郑湘 (Shandong, lawyer)
You Feizhu 游飞翥 (Chongqing, lawyer)
Zhang Guo 张国 (Hunan, lawyer)
Yao Fei 姚飞 (Sichuan, lawyer)
Xu Hongwei 徐红卫 (Shandong, lawyer)
Wang Guangqi 王光琦 (Beijing, lawyer)
Zhang Junjie 张俊杰 (Henan, lawyer)

Signatures are in the process of being collected...

Human Rights Lawyers Group Contact Persons
Lawyer Wang Cheng (王成) Mobile Phone +86 13616501896
Lawyer Tang Jitian (唐吉田) Mobile Phone +86 13161302848
Lawyer Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) Mobile Phone +86 13001010856
Contact email: renquanlawyer --AT-- gmail --DOT-- com

(Translation courtesy of a team of translators who wish to remain anonymous)

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