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[10 December 2013] As part of Human Rights Day 2013, Chinese Uyghur Tibetan Solidarity UK highlighted a selection of Articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with prisoners of conscience cases related to each article. The Articles and associated cases were read out at a vigil held outside the Chinese Embassy in London on 10 December 2013.


Index
Introduction
Article 5 I Ablikim Abdureyim (Uyghur)
Article 7 I Gao Zhisheng (Chinese)
Article 10 I Gulmira Imin (Uyghur)
Article 13Wang Bingzhang (Chinese)
Article 18Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (Tibetan)
Article 19Liu Xiaobo (Chinese) I Nurmemet Yasin (Uyghur) I Ugyen Tenzin (Tibetan)
Article 20 I Kunsang Bhum (Tibetan)


Introduction
CUTS UK postcardIn the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it says, It is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.

Tyranny and oppression are two terms that can be used to describe the Chinese Communist Partys rule since 1949. Rebellion can be seen every day throughout China. Whether it is Chinese people standing up to petition the authorities over forced eviction from their own property, Uyghurs who speak out to protest against the governments crackdown on free speech, or Tibetans who set fire to themselves in the hope that Beijing will allow the Tibetan people the right to freely worship the Dalai Lama.

Today, on Human Rights Day, we remember all those human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience who have sacrificed their own freedom and lives in order to promote and protect the human rights of those living under the tyrannical regime of the Chinese Communist Party in East Turkestan, Tibet and across China.

We urge the Chinese government to release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally. We also demand that all human rights defenders be allowed to express themselves freely without fear of persecution.

Below are a selection of Articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and prisoner of conscience cases that relate to those articles. It should be noted that most cases relate to more than one article.


Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.


Ablikim AdbureyimAblikim Abdureyim, son of the exiled Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer, was sentenced to 9 years in prison in 2007 for allegedly instigating and engaging in secessionist activities. At his trial he was not given the legal representation of his choice.

Ablikim has been subjected to torture, solitary confinement and suffered from physical ailments throughout his imprisonment.

Rebiya Kadeer said, My sons only crime is their relationship to me. And because the Chinese government is no longer able to silence me, they are going after my family... The time has come for Chinese leaders to end the unlawful, brutal mistreatment of our loved ones.


Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.


Gao ZhishengGao Zhisheng is a Chinese human rights attorney who has defended activists, ethnic minorities and members of Falun Gong and documented human rights abuses. He has been repeatedly arrested, imprisoned and tortured since 2005. In December 2011, after a 20 month disappearance the Chinese government announced he had been sentenced to three years imprisonment for allegedly violating his parole, though it was not specified which probation rules he had violated.

Ironically, Gao Zhisheng was once praised by the Chinese Ministry of Justice as one of the countrys ten best lawyers. He has now been imprisoned without due process.

In 2009 he wrote, Not only is it now extremely difficult for me to make my voice heard, but it is also extremely dangerous. In the past three-plus years, the authorities invested a great deal of manpower, physical resources and funds, and employed the most merciless methods, to achieve their goal of silencing me.


Article 10
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.


Gulmira IminGulmira Imin was sentenced in April 2010 to life imprisonment on charges of splittism, leaking state secrets, and organising an illegal demonstration.

A local government worker, Gulmira also edited a Uyghur language website to which she contributed with poetry, short stories and comments critical of government policies. She was alleged to have helped organise the demonstration in Urumqi on 5 July 2009, which led to many deaths and a major crackdown.

Gulmira was sentenced in April 2010 in a closed trial without due process. She was represented by a lawyer whom she had never met before. She tried to address the court during the trial about torture and other ill-treatment she had suffered during detention but to no avail. She was coerced into signing a document without knowing the content. Her sentence only became public four months later. Since her conviction she has only been allowed to see her lawyer twice, and her appeal was rejected.


Article 13
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.


Wang BingzhangWang Bingzhang is a former doctor who gave up his career to promote democracy in China. Having studied and worked abroad for 10 years he was denied re-entry to China in 1989 when he wanted to return to support the Tiananmen Square protests. He secretly returned in 1998 and set up a democratic party but was caught and expelled.

In 2002 he was kidnapped whilst in Vietnam and forcibly returned to China where he was tried in secret and sentenced to life imprisonment in solitary confinement. Despite no evidence or witnesses he was convicted of various sentences including exposing military secrets and plotting to bomb the Chinese embassy in Thailand.

On becoming a democracy activist, Wang Bingzhang said, The new emerging democratic movement in contemporary China needs activists. From now on, I will put down my beloved physicians stethoscope and put on that of a social observer to diagnose Chinas social ills. I will lay down the cherished scalpels of a surgeon and pick up those of a social reformer to remove the ulcers and tumours of Chinese society. The road ahead will be thorny and arduous, but it will be the road to light and hope.


Article 18
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.


Tenzin Delek RinpocheTenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly revered Tibetan Buddhist lama and community leader in eastern Tibet, is serving a life sentence for allegedly conspiring to cause explosions. He was sentenced to death in 2002 in a closed trial despite no credible evidence linking him to the crime. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2005, however his student Lobsang Dhondup who was also found guilty of the same charge was executed.

According to Human Rights Watch, Tenzin Delek Rinpoches case was the culmination of a decade-long effort by Chinese authorities to curb his efforts to foster Tibetan Buddhism, his support for the Dalai Lama as a religious leader, and his work to develop Tibetan social and cultural institutions. His efforts had become a focal point for Tibetans struggling to retain their cultural identity in the face of Chinas restrictive policies and its continuing persecution of individuals attempting to push the accepted boundaries of cultural and social expression.


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.


Liu XiaoboLiu Xiaobo was the leading author of Charter 08, published on 10 December 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Charter 08 calls for multiparty democracy and respect for human rights in China. In 2009, Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison for inciting subversion of state power. In 2010 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his long-term non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. He is the only Nobel laureate currently in prison.

Liu Xiaobo has written, Regardless of how great the freedom-denying power of a regime and its institutions is, every individual should still fight to the best of his/her ability to live as a free person, that is, make every effort to live an honest life with dignity.

He also said, Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth. To strangle freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, stifle humanity, and suppress truth.

Nurmemet YasinNurmemet Yasin, an author and poet, was arrested in 2004 after the publication of Wild Pigeon. The story, which tells the tale of a pigeon who commits suicide to avoid living in captivity, was considered by the Chinese government as a criticism of state control. Yasin was sentenced Yasin to 10 years imprisonment on charges of inciting separatism.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Yasin died in 2011 in prison. The Chinese authorities have not confirmed the reports, though Yasin was known to have been suffering from ill-health whilst in prison.

In Wild Pigeon Yasin writes, By caging my body, they hope to enslave my soul.

The story ends, The poisons... flow through me like the sound of freedom itself, along with gratitude that now, now, finally, I can die freely. I feel as if my soul is on fire-soaring and free.

Ugyen TenzinUgyen Tenzin, a 25 year-old Tibetan singer, is serving a two year jail term for singing songs calling for Tibetan unity and freedom. He was arrested in February 2012, shortly after releasing analbum which included lyrics praising the Dalai Lama.

Ugyen Tenzin was also one of a group of six Tibetan singers who sung an extraordinary and powerful song Hold Onto the Ancestral Land. It has become popular amongst Tibetans since a live performance was uploaded onto Youtube following Ugyens imprisonment.

The lyrics, translated into English by High Peak Pure Earth, are as follows:

Hold Onto the Ancestral Land

If there were no dark clouds
The bright light of the sun
Warmth and happiness will spread over the land
The suns rays will touch Tibet 

If there were no oppressive red laws
With a just and honest law
The land will be ruled with peace
Freedom will come to Tibet

If there is pride in ones nationality
The fully living culture
Will establish a religious land
The ruddy-faced Tibetans will spread

If there is loving unity
Tibetans living inside and outside
Waiting for the unifying sun
Hold onto the three provinces of the ancestral land


Article 20
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.


Kunsang BhumKunsang Bhum was one of eight students imprisoned for taking part in a peaceful protest march in eastern Tibet in November 2012. Kunsang received a sentence of 3 years and 6 months after being found guilty of causing harm to social stability by illegally holding a demonstration.

The students were demonstrating against a new political education drive by the Chinese authorities aimed at schools which denounced the Dalai Lama and those who had protested by self-immolation. The march, which attracted over 1,000 students, was violently dispersed by Chinese police with at least 20 students hospitalised.

During the march the students chanted for equality of nationalities, freedom of language, respect for the truth and the establishment a new government.


Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership 24; Family 36; Life 500)
 
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