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Activist Issues Statement Urging International Attention to Ban of Human Rights Day in Guizhou

January 25, 2008

Human Rights in China has received a statement from Guizhou human rights defender Chen Xi calling for international attention and action in response to the Guizhou local authorities' ban on Human Rights Day activities in December 2007. As part of the ban authorities in Guizhou and other provinces prevented people from traveling to Guizhou to attend activities, forcibly dispersed a human rights symposium, and harassed and detained people there.

In his statement (appended to the Chinese version of this Press Advisory), Chen Xi writes that the Guizhou local authorities blocked local human rights activists from holding the "2007 Third Annual Human Rights Symposium" in December 2007. Chen reports that on November 16 and December 4, 2007, deputy officers of the State Security Protection Detachment of the Guiyang Public Security Bureau told him and others that Human Rights Day, and all events for the day, were banned. The officers went on to say that they were complying with the determination made by higher level leaders in the Communist Party.

Despite these warnings, some activists attempted to proceed with previously scheduled activities, and authorities reportedly detained participants who had come from out of town. Chen Xi, Liao Shuangyun, Mo Jiangang, and others in Guizhou were stopped by Guizhou authorities. As previously reported by Human Rights in China, Xu Zhiqiang (Buddhist Monk Shengguan) was stopped in Shenzhen before reaching Guizhou. Wang Fengshan reportedly made it to Guizhou, but was returned home by Gansu authorities. Other participants endured varying degrees of police harassment. In his statement, Chen Xi urges international action in response to the ban.

Human Rights Day was established by the United Nations to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is held every year on December 10. The resolution establishing the Day invited all countries to observe and celebrate Human Rights Day as a means of achieving human rights progress.

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