NYT: “More than 100 Chinese scholars, journalists, lawyers and writers urged their national legislature on Tuesday to ratify a major human rights treaty, in the latest challenge from intellectuals seeking to curtail arbitrary Communist Party power.
Flag of the Chinese Communist Party (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The petition calling on the party-controlled National People’s Congress to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights came a week before the congress holds its annual full session, which is to install Xi Jinping as China’s president, succeeding Hu Jintao.
Copies of the document appeared on Chinese blogging Web sites and Internet forums, but were often often removed and quickly reappeared. It was unclear whether government censors demanded the removals.
The proposal “was originally intended for a Thursday release through a prominent Chinese newspaper,” David Bandurski, a researcher at the China Media Project of Hong Kong University, wrote in a comment on a translation of the petition. “Authorities, however, learned of the letter by late Monday and the authors had no choice but to release it to the public” on Tuesday, Mr. Bandurski wrote, citing unnamed sources.
Ratification of the treaty would “promote and realize the principles of a country based on human rights and a China governed by its Constitution,” the petition said. “We fear that due to the lack of nurturing of human rights and absence of fundamental reverence and assurances for individuals’ freedom, rights and dignity, if a full-scale crisis breaks out, the whole society will collapse into hatred and brutality.”
The call, also circulated by e-mail, carried the names of 121 backers, including several who said they lived in Hong Kong or Macau.
The petition was the latest display of the demands for political change confronting China’s new leadership. Several people who signed it said they hoped to press Mr. Xi and his colleagues to live up to vows of greater respect for the rule of law and citizens’ rights that Mr. Xi and other officials have made since he became Communist Party leader in November, when Mr. Hu retired from that post.”
via Chinese Intellectuals Urge Ratification of Rights Treaty – NYTimes.com.