Letter: Pressure on China to end human rights abuses

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The Independent Online
Sir: Friday, 4 June, is the fourth anniversary of the violent suppression of democratic protest in Tiananmen Square. A large number of people continue to be imprisoned both as a result of their peaceful activity on that fateful day and other efforts to promote basic freedoms.

Among the many hundreds in detention, are at least 24 journalists, each serving a harsh sentence for having exercised a fundamental right. Two of these, Wang Juntao and Ren Wanding, are reported to be in poor health and in urgent need of medical attention.

As China bids for the Olympic Games in the year 2000 with the slogan 'An Open China Awaits the Olympics', we ask that the British government, with its European and North American partners, makes strenuous efforts to ensure that China abides by international laws that protect freedom of expression and are binding on all states by immediately releasing those imprisoned for having expressed their beliefs and political opinions.

We particularly ask that in the absence of any improvements in China's human rights record there be no further moves to condone existing conditions through trade, cultural or sporting agreements.

Yours faithfully,

FRANCES D'SOUZA

Director

Article 19

London, SE1

3 June

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