The Urgent Action Network - Amnesty International

Post Office Box 1270

Nederland CO 80466-1270

Phone: 303 440 0913

Fax: 303 258 7881

e-mail: sharrison@igc.apc.org

UA 150/95 Arbitrary arrest / Fear for Safety 28 June 1995

PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

Hongda Harry Wu (M) Aged 58


Background Information

Recommended Action

Addresses of Appeal Letters (China)

Addresses of Appeal Letters (U.S.A.)

Appeal Letter to Premier Li Peng of China

Appeal Letter to Director, Department of Justice, Hubei Province


Background Information

Hongda Harry Wu, a naturalized citizen of the United States of America (US) and former political prisoner in China, was detained in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Monday 19 June 1995 and formally arrested in Wuhan on 8 July 1995. His current place of detention is unknown; he was denied access for several weeks to a representative of the US Embassy and has been denied further access; and there are serious concerns for his physical safety.

Harry Wu was born in China and is the founder and Executive Director of the Laogai Research Foundation. He is a well-known and respected human rights campaigner, particularly focusing on the laogai (labour camp) system in China. In 1960 he was arrested and spent 19 years in a labour camp for expressing his political ideas. He left China in 1985 and is now an American citizen.

According to the Laogai Research Foundation, Harry Wu, whose legal name is Peter H. Wu, was traveling on a US passport with a visa issued by the Chinese authorities on 11 March 1995, valid for two entries into China and expiring on 11 September 1995. Mr. Wu and a companion were stopped by the Chinese authorities at a town on the Kazakhstan/China border on 19 June 1995. They were initially taken to a guesthouse near the border town of Horgas in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, while the authorities reportedly investigated the legitimacy of their travel documents. While at the guesthouse, they were kept under guard, their movements were restricted and they were not permitted to contact the US Embassy or anyone else.

At dawn on 23 June 1995, Harry Wu's companion, also a US citizen, was taken from the guesthouse and later returned to the US. Also on that day the US Embassy in Beijing was informed of the detentions by the Chinese authorities who said that they were continuing to conduct an investigation into the validity of Harry Wu's travel documents. Mr. Wu is reported to be have been held in Horgas until 29 June when he was transferred to a detention centre somewhere in Wuhan city, Hubei province.

Government authorities had initially said that they were investigating the validity of Harry Wu's travel documents. According to the Laogai Research Foundation, Harry Wu's documentation was in order on this and all previous visits to China and have documentary evidence to prove it. The US State Department does not believe there is any basis for the accusation that Harry Wu violated Chinese immigration law.

The Chinese authorities announced on 8 July 1995 that human rights activist Harry Wu had been formally arrested by the Wuhan Public Security (police) Bureau and accused of stealing state secrets, disseminating those secrets to institutions and organizations outside China, and attempting to enter China using an assumed name.

In China during 1994 and 1995, a growing number of people have been arrested and sentenced on charges of 'leaking state secrets', raising concern that the legal provisions concerning state secrets are being used to repress fundamental freedoms. Amnesty International considers some of those held on such charges to be prisoners of conscience. The definition given to 'state secrets' in China is very broad, encompassing matters which would be the subject of public scrutiny in other countries, and going far beyond what is needed to protect national security. In recent years, people accused of leaking state secrets and considered to be prisoners of conscience have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging between 2 to 10 years.

After having been held incommunicado since 19 June, Harry Wu was permitted to speak to a United States (US) consular official on 10 July for 30 minutes by telephone through a glass partition. According to the US official, Harry Wu said that he was not being ill-treated and that he was receiving sufficient food. A number of prison officials were present throughout the meeting. Harry Wu had reportedly seen a doctor for eye and back problems, but was not satisfied with the standard of treatment he had received.

Amnesty International believes that Harry Wu's detention is related to his involvement in publicizing information about political imprisonment and human rights abuses in China and that he is, therefore, a prisoner of conscience. Amnesty International also has well-documented concerns about routine ill-treatment of detainees in police custody and therefore fears that Harry Wu may be at risk of such treatment. The organization is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

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Recommended Action:

Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:

calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Hongda Harry Wu;

urging the authorities to ensure that, while in detention, Hongda Harry Wu is treated in accordance with international standards for the treatment of prisoners and that he is protected from all forms of ill-treatment;

urging that he receive adequate medical treatment for eye and back complaints; and

requesting that his current place of detention be made public and he be permitted frequent visits by a representative of the US Embassy.

(Important note: New international postage costs effective July 9, 1995: 60 cents for the first 1/2 ounce (one page letter and envelope); 40 cents for each additional 1/2 ounce; 50 cents for an aerogramme or postcard)

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Appeals To:

Premier of the People's Republic of China

Li Peng Zongli

Guowuyuan

9 Xihuangchenggenbeijie

Beijingshi 100032

People's Republic of China

Telexes: 716 210070 FMPRC CN or 716 22478 MFERT CN

Faxes: 011 86 1 512 5810 (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Telegram: Premier Li Peng, Beijing, China

Director of the Hubei Department of Public Security

Tian Qiyu Juzhang

Gong'anting

Fujiapo, Wuchang

Wuhanshi 430070

Hubeisheng

People's Republic of China

[Telegrams: Director, Department of Public Security, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China]

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Copies of Your Appeal To:

Editor-in-Chief of Hubei Daily

Zhou Chuanren Zongbianji

Hubei Ribao

4 Dongting, 2 Lu

Wuhanshi

Hubeisheng

People's Republic of China

Chinese Ambassador to the United States

Ambassador Li Daoyu

Embassy of the People's Republic of China

2300 Connecticut Ave. NW

Washington DC 20008


Please send appeals immediately. Check with the Colorado office between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, Mountain Time, weekdays only, if sending appeals after August 28, 1995.

This Urgent Action appeal originated from Amnesty International's research headquarters at the International Secretariat in London, United Kingdom. Amnesty International is an independent worldwide movement working for the international protection of human rights. It seeks the release of men and women detained anywhere because of their beliefs, color, sex, ethnic origin, language or religious creed, provided they have not used nor advocated violence. These are termed prisoners of conscience. It works for fair and prompt trials for all political prisoners and works on behalf of such people detained without charge or trial. It opposes the death penalty and torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of all prisoners without reservation.

Attachments: Sample Letters


July 3, 1995

Li Peng Zongli

Guowuyuan

9 Xihuangchenggenbeijie

Beijingshi 100032, People's Republic of China

Dear Premier,

I wish to express my strongest concern over the detention of Hongda Harry Wu on 19 June 1995 and his subsequent arrest.

Mr. Wu is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He was traveling to China on a valid passport and visa. According to the U.S. State Department, his incommunicado detention violates U.S.-China treaty obligations. The human rights organization Amnesty International has already adopted Mr. Wu as a prisoner of conscience. Mr. Wu is very well known to the U.S. Congress and to the international community. You can rest assured that the uproar over his arrest will not die down until he is unconditionally released and in good condition.

I urge you to immediately grant Mr. Wu repeated and frequent access to U.S. diplomatic representatives, in accordance with U.S.-China treaty obligations. His current place of detention should be made public and he should be allowed to communicate privately with his wife. The world will hold you personally responsible for his physical well-being. He should be protected from all forms of ill-treatment, including sleep deprivation.

I am writing to my representatives in the U.S. Congress and to President Clinton, urging that the strongest possible measures be used to secure Mr. Wu's release, including revocation of China's Most Favored Nation trading status.

Sincerely yours,

Your Name, Your Address

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July 3, 1995

Director of the Hubei Department of Public Security

Tian Qiyu Juzhang

Gong'anting

Fujiapo, Wuchang, Wuhanshi 430070

Hubeisheng, People's Republic of China

Dear Director,

I wish to express my strongest concern over the detention of Hongda Harry Wu on 19 June 1995 and his subsequent arrest.

Mr. Wu is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He was traveling to China on a valid passport and visa. According to the U.S. State Department, his incommunicado detention violates U.S.-China treaty obligations. The human rights organization Amnesty International has already adopted Mr. Wu as a prisoner of conscience. Mr. Wu is very well known to the U.S. Congress and to the international community. You can rest assured that the uproar over his arrest will not die down until he is unconditionally released and in good condition.

I urge you to immediately grant Mr. Wu repeated and frequent access to U.S. diplomatic representatives, in accordance with U.S.-China treaty obligations. His current place of detention should be made public and he should be allowed to communicate privately with his wife. The world will hold you personally responsible for his physical well-being. He should be protected from all forms of ill-treatment, including sleep deprivation.

I am writing to my representatives in the U.S. Congress and to President Clinton, urging that the strongest possible measures be used to secure Mr. Wu's release, including revocation of China's Most Favored Nation trading status

Sincerely yours,

Your Name, Your Address

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