Former Chinese official Bao Tong, issued a letter of complaint to China’s Ministry of Public Security yesterday, denouncing the escalated harassment that he and his wife have suffered at the hands of a group that shadows them 24 hours a day. The letter, made public today, was also sent to China’s President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji.
The letter, which is translated in full below, describes a May 6 incident in which Bao Tong, 68, and his wife were surrounded by ten men when they exited a taxi in downtown Beijing. Ordered to return home, Bao Tong was forced into a car and his wife Jiang Zongcao, nearly 70-years-old, was knocked to the ground.
Bao Tong, the most senior government leader to be imprisoned for opposing the government's use of force to suppress the 1989 demonstrations, reports that he is currently being monitored by a group of at least 20 people, including both uniformed and plainclothes police. In his letter, Bao Tong seeks the investigation and abolition of the group, which he calls an "illegal organization" that "aims to trample on the Constitution and human rights…[and] pretend[s] to act in the name of…the government and…Party." Bao Tong writes, "I issue this formal complaint on behalf of the Constitution and on behalf of the individual rights of Chinese citizens."
"On the eve of the eleventh anniversary of the June Fourth Massacre, Bao Tong’s case demonstrates how political persecution continues," said Xiao Qiang executive director of Human Rights in China. "In addition to imprisonment, the Chinese government silences its critics with the heavy-handed, day-to-day deprivation of basic human rights."
Human Rights in China condemns the intensified harassment of Bao Tong and his family. Human Rights in China calls on the Chinese government to immediately end its tactics of intimidation, and to guarantee to all citizens the rights and freedoms guaranteed under Chinese law.
Bao Tong, the former adviser to ousted Chinese Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang, was director of a political reform institute under the Communist Party Central Committee when he was arrested in May 1989 for opposing the violent government crackdown on peaceful protesters. From 1989 to 1997, he spent seven years in prison and one subsequent year under house arrest. Since the restoration of his political rights in 1998, Bao Tong has been a vocal critic of Chinese government policies.
To: The Ministry of Public Security
Cc: Premier of the State Council; President of the People’s Republic of China
I am Bao Tong. I am writing to file a complaint.
At 3:00 in the afternoon on May 6, my family and I went to the east side of Beijing by taxi. As we were getting out of the cab in the downtown area, a group of about ten men from two cars and one motorbike rushed at us from behind, surrounded us and forcefully pushed me into one of their cars. At the same time, they pushed my nearly 70-year-old wife Jiang Zongcao to the ground. Their action constitutes a violation of the individual rights of two Chinese citizens, and is a violation of Article 37 of the Chinese Constitution and Article 131 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China. This is the third report that I have filed [regarding this matter].
If you need to understand more about my general situation, I willingly provide the following details:
The incident that I described above occurred on May 6 at around 3:00 in the afternoon. An hour later, I filed a complaint by personally going to the Babaoshan local police station. On May 8, I telephoned the Public Security Bureau of Beijing to report the same incident. It is now May 31, and I have not heard any reply. It seems that the Beijing public security organs have encountered some insurmountable difficulties in handling this matter. Therefore, I am left with no choice but to file a direct complaint to the country’s top public security office, the highest executive office and the leading officials of the government.
I believe that there is a practical, political significance in investigating this illegal group. According to this year’s human rights White Paper, published by the Chinese government, and in light of the governing principle of rule by law, the Chinese people now enjoy unprecedented freedoms and rights. However, this group I have described is a bad apple and has the effect of damaging the good name of the state. As long as these bad apples continue to exist, there will be no way to guarantee Article 37 of the Chinese Constitution (which states that "the individual freedoms of citizens of the People’s Republic of China should not be violated"). In addition, according to Article 33 of the Constitution (which states that ‘all citizens have equal rights under the law"), these rights should not differ for ordinary people and for the leaders of the country. If the unlawful violation of individual rights that my wife and I encountered is allowed unchecked, simply because we are just two ordinary citizens, then in the future, it could very well be an important leader who is forced into a car or pushed to the ground as we were. What a shocking sight that would be! [No citizens would be safe from such unlawful violation of rights.] Thus I believe that groups of this kind, which violate the Constitution and trample human rights, should be abolished, regardless of how many exist in the capital and throughout the country, and regardless of how powerful they are or how strong their superiors are. To do so would uphold the law and safeguard citizens’ rights.
From this perspective, I issue this formal complaint on behalf of the Constitution and on behalf of the individual rights of Chinese citizens. It is very possible that by filing of this complaint, I will again provoke this illegal group. I may get into further trouble, such as having my telephone line cut, being accused of counter-revolution, or even encountering some kind of accident or misfortune within my family. If such things happen to me, it will only prove my judgment correct. This group is indeed a powerful one, and must be dealt with seriously. Otherwise, sooner or later, the ordinary citizens of China could be harmed.
I trust this letter of complaint will not go unanswered. I am waiting for your reply. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to attend to this matter.
May 31, 2000