The Common Good
September-October 1996

Democracy Efforts for China

by Julienne Gage, Aaron McCarroll Gallegos | September-October 1996

Chinese pro-democracy activist Harry Wu led 1,000 protestors to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., to kick off
Amnesty International's Annual General Meeting in June.

Chinese pro-democracy activist Harry Wu led 1,000 protestors to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., to kick off Amnesty International's Annual General Meeting in June.

Wu and several other Chinese dissidents who have been persecuted by the Chinese government made speeches while embassy officials peeked out from behind their office blinds.

While the United States again granted China "Most Favored Nation" status last spring, human rights activists continue to protest the abuses of the Chinese government. Included in these is the disappearance of a 6-year-old boy chosen by Tibetans to be the next Dali Lama, more than 1,000 executions from April through July 1996, widespread torture, "re-education" through labor camps, and grievous repression of speech and the press.

Wu, who has been detained twice by Chinese authorities—including once for 19 years—remains hopeful that enough attention focused on China's abuses can change the situation. Indeed, his release last year was due in part to human rights campaigns like those of Amnesty International.

"There is an old Chinese saying, 'feathers accumulated will sink a boat.'" said Wu. Activists hope that enough letters of protest to the U.S. and Chinese governments will help turn the tide of China's corruption.

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