Nine prominent NGOs urge Obama to publicly call for prisoners’ release

DHARAMSALA, Nov 3: Nine leading non-governmental organizations have urged US President Barrack Obama to take up the Chinese government’s crackdown on civil society as a barrier to bilateral relations during his upcoming visit to China.

In a joint letter released on Oct 30, the nine NGOs, Amnesty International, Freedom House, Freedom Now, Human Rights First, Human Rights in China, Human Rights Watch, International Campaign for Tibet, Project 2049 and Uighur American Association urged President Obama to publicly call for the release of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia; Uighur economist and advocate of interethnic dialogue Ilham Tohti; human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who is not free despite having been released from prison; and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist leader whose health is reportedly deteriorating after a decade in prison.

“The deteriorating human rights environment and the extraordinary damage done to China’s civil society should be given greater prominence in the bilateral relationship generally and your upcoming trip in particular,” the NGOs said in the letter and added, “While it may be tempting to conclude from Beijing’s increasing intransigence that such efforts are ineffective, we believe that by publicly raising the cases of particular activists during your visit to Beijing , you may afford them protection from ill-treatment or torture in detention, and increase the prospects of parole or humanitarian release. Even if these results are not achieved, your speaking about these activists now would bring them and their family members a degree of hope, and would serve as one of the only means of demanding accountability from Chinese authorities,”

At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, President Barack Obama of the United States of America will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and pay a state visit to China from November 10 to 12.

President Obama will meet with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on November 12.







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