Right now in China brave people are putting themselves at risk, simply by asking for human rights. Rights you and I can take for granted.
I'm asking you to support them, and help us campaign to make 'real and lasting' change a reality in China. There will never be a better time to demand that the Chinese government honours the commitments it made.
Because, the reality of life in China is different to the spin:
* Executions: An estimated 8,000 last year, with over 68 “crimes” being punishable by death. “Confessions” extracted under torture and with no presumption of innocence.
* Internet Repression: Internet censorship remains pervasive in China with few signs that the authorities are prepared to relax policies of surveillance and control.
* Re-education through Labour: Critics of the government and members of banned religions can be sent to a labour camp for up to 4 years, without charge or trial.
* Torture: Torture is widespread in the criminal justice system - common methods include electric shocks, beating and sleep deprivation.
* Tiananmen Prisoners: Nearly 20 years after the military crackdown on demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, dozens of people arrested then remain in prison.
* Human Rights Defenders: People who make a stand are harassed and arrested, often relating to vague charges like 'state secrets'. They include lawyers, journalists, HIV activists and trade unionists.
* Workers Rights: Trade unions are illegal (at least the independent ones)
* Religious Persecution: Unofficial religious groups - such as the Falun Gong spiritual movement - are banned as 'subversive' and individual practitioners detained.
* Overseas: Chinas support for repressive governments in the Sudan fuels the terrible crisis in Darfur, and in Burma leads to a cruel regime impervious to change.
You and I must help, we must demand real change. Please help us use this unique time to make a difference for the peoples of Chin and its regions.
With very best wishes
Chief Executive Officer
Amnesty International New Zealand