Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that freelance writer Wu Gaoxing (吴高兴), a former June Fourth prisoner, was taken by the police from his home in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, at around 10:00 a.m. on May 30, 2009. Wu is one of the five signers of a recent open letter to President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders seeking economic redress for former June Fourth prisoners. Wu was detained about an hour after the letter, titled, “Open Letter to Central Government Seeking Right of Economic Redress for June Fourth Victims,” was made public.
Sources say that the police, who took away Wu and his computer, did not offer any reason or provide documentation for his detention. Wu’s family does not know his current whereabouts.
The open letter – co-signed by Wu and former June Fourth prisoners Chen Longde (陈龙德), Wang Donghai (王东海), Mao Guoliang (毛国良), and Ye Wenxiang (叶文相), all from Zhejiang province – outlined the economic hardships that have trapped the former prisoners of June Fourth. “In this society that claims to be harmonious, we have become ‘citizens of the three have-nots waiting to die’: we have no regular jobs, no pensions, and no health insurance; if we get sick, we can only wait to die, and all this just because twenty years ago we were sentenced for political reasons!,” the letter said.
HRIC has learned that, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the June Fourth crackdown on the 1989 Democracy Movement, other dissidents have also been detained or put under house arrest or 24-hour surveillance. They include Beijing-based writer Yu Jie (余杰), who was put under house arrest on May 31 after being watched since May 27 by policemen posted outside his home; Shenzhen-based writer Zhao Dagong (赵达功), who has been banned from traveling to Hong Kong; and Guizhou rights activist Chen Xi (陈西), who has been under 24-hour surveillance since May 22, after being detained for one day, on May 15, while on his way to a June Fourth commemorative event.
HRIC has also learned that the police have asked Ding Zilin (丁子霖), spokesperson of the Tiananmen Mothers, to leave Beijing in the lead-up to the 20th anniversary of June Fourth. On May 28, 2009, the Tiananmen Mothers released a public statement demanding an official reassessment of the June Fourth crackdown.
In addition, sources told HRIC that at least six rights activists in Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, have been put under surveillance. They are: Shen Youlian (申有连), Huang Yanming (黄燕明), Du Heping (杜和平), Wu Yuqin (吴玉琴), Li Lianke (李连科), and Mo Jiangang (莫建刚).
HRIC urges the Chinese authorities to provide explanation for Wu’s detention and immediately and unconditionally release him, as well as lift the surveillance and the travel ban on other dissidents and rights defenders. In suppressing rather than answering those who appeal for redress and justice for June Fourth victims on the eve of the 20th anniversary of a national tragedy, the Chinese government is not only squandering a unique opportunity to express its goodwill toward the Chinese people, but also deepening the wounds left by that tragedy.
For more information on June Fourth and the Tiananmen Mothers, see: