STATEMENT OF THE
CHINA DEMOCRACY PARTY
ISSUED FROM GENEVA BEFORE THE 56TH SESSIONS OF THE UN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
April 3, 2000
Formed in 1998 following the signing by the government of the People's Republic of China of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the China Democracy Party (CDP) represents an historic attempt by pro- democracy forces within China to establish a transparent, peaceful opposition party, challenging the past fifty years of one-party rule.
This unprecedented challenge signals a new age in Chinese politics, but has been resisted by the Chinese authorities and met with the harshest crackdown on political dissidents since the brutal treatment of students leaders after Tiananmen Square in 1989. In the winter of 1998, three CDP leaders, Mr. Xu Wenli, Mr. Wang Youcai, and Mr. Qin Yongmin were summarily sentenced to decade-long prison terms for attempting to register the CDP under the legal authority of the Chinese constitution. When convicted, their crime, according to the authorities, was "plotting to overthrow state power."
Again in 1999, during a second wave of oppression launched against CDP leaders, dozens more were rounded up and summarily sentenced for simply this: the peaceable advocating of political pluralism. Ironically, the only actual crimes in evidence were the flagrant human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government against the political dissidents.
Yet, the actions taken by CDP members to freely associate for the purposes of forming a political party were not only lawful, but represent human rights guaranteed to all individuals under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 22 of the ICCPR guarantees the right to freedom of association, stating that "no restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right...." Previously, the European Commission on Human Rights has held that the refusal to allow the registration of an organization and, by implication, a political party, could, in fact, constitute an interference with that right.
Yet, China has persecuted those individuals with impunity. Furthermore, it took its human rights violations one step further: it denied those prisoners their right to due process. Indeed, the judge at his trial shouted down Xu Wenli, when he rose to speak in his own defense. The defendants Wang Youcai and Qin Yongmin were refused all legal representation. Unquestionably, the right to representation by legal counsel is a human right guaranteed under Article 14 of the Covenant.
Notwithstanding this winter of oppression, the China Democracy Party has taken root, like an oak to ground. In January, its leaders issued "The China Democracy Party New Century Declaration", which sets forth in broad terms the party's positions on a wide range of political, economic and ideological issues China will face in the 21st century.
One of those issues is human right. As the Communist Party rose to power by rejecting humanism in favor of statism, the China Democracy Party believes it will come to power by respecting the human rights of individuals. This is a fundamentally different approach from the one the communist government took to secure its fifty-year reign of power. It employed class struggle and dictatorship to suppress humanism in every form. That was then. This is now. The China Democracy Party believes that only with the recognition of universal human rights by all political parties under a democracy can genuine human rights ever be realized for the people of China.
It was not until the Post-Tiananmen Square period of 1989 that China was forced to even acknowledge the existence of human rights. But for the past eleven years it has given them only lip-service, preferring, instead, to claim that human rights are an internal affair, outside the realm of world scrutiny, notwithstanding its signature on two of the world's leading human rights instruments, which constitute de facto international jurisdiction.
In short, China stands in contempt of the world community and the law of humanity, arguing that political stability and economic development come first. But the China Democracy Party believes that human rights, political stability and economic development have never been, nor will they ever be, mutually exclusive. To suggest otherwise is to insinuate that China is a primitive state. Advanced states do not shirk from their responsibility to protect and defend the political and civil rights of their own citizens. It is as much a government's duty to ensure these rights as it is the right of citizens to enjoy them.
The China Democracy Party pledges to protect and defend the human rights of the Chinese people. It pledges to abide by China's international treaty obligations. Moreover, it calls on its government to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights at the earliest possible date.
The China Democracy party believes governments are created among men and women to promote the common welfare of the people. Indeed, democracies best protect and defend human rights. Equally important, they ensure the peoplesí right to change their government whenever it becomes oppressive. Such is the case in China.
But democracies cannot be imposed. They must emanate from the will of the people. Therefore, the China Democracy Party calls upon the people of China to rise up and demand democratic government for the sake of human rights.
Moreover, it calls upon the Chinese government to end its systematic campaign of intimidation and oppression against the China Democracy Party, and to release its leaders, including Mr. Xu Wenli, Mr. Wang Youcai, Mr. Qin Yongmin, Mr. Zha Jianguo, Mr. Gao Hongming, Mr. Liu Sijun, Mr. Wu Yilong, Mr. Mao Qinxiang, and Mr. Zhu Yufu, Mr. Hu Sigeng, Dr. Wang Ce, Yu Xinjiao, Mr. Peng Min, and Mr. Jiang Qisen. Furthermore, it calls upon the government to end its campaign of persecution against the Falun Gong, as well as other religious groups, including Christians, Catholics, Buddhists, and Muslims.
Finally, it sends a message to the world, asking it to remember that it does not advocate violence, but will never allow violence to intimidate it into submission, nor shred its belief in the right to fundamental freedoms. The grand enterprise of the China Democracy Party is to ensure the rise of a new consciousness in China, one drawn still further into the future by the thousands who have come before and sacrificed for the cause of liberty in China. There the rise of freedom is an historical inevitability. And intimidation and coercion will fail to slow its surge. As CDP leader Zha Jianguo stated last year at his Beijing trial, "China Democracy Party members are not afraid of death. What then is the significance of a jail term to us?"
Rooted in the earth of universal truths, the China Democracy Party will survive the hard freeze of winter, only to flourish in the coming spring. And one day it, too, will become like a great oak, rising within a free and flourishing civilization.
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