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10 December 1998



Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is Supporting the FREE LIN HAI CAMPAIGN

ISSUES: the right to life, liberty, and security of person; freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention; freedom of opinion and expression; freedom of peaceful assembly and association; the right to communicate freely over the Internet and other telecommunications systems

FACTS OF THE CASE: On a day when most countries are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, software engineer Lin Hai and physicist and dissident Wang Youcai sit in jail for using the Internet to support democracy in China.

The Science and Human Rights Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in collaboration with the Association for Computing Machinery, the Center for Democracy and Technology,

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the Committee of Concerned Scientists, the Committee on the International Freedom of Scientists of the American Physical Society, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK), Derechos Human Rights, the Digital Freedom Network, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Human Rights in China, the New York Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Human Rights, and VIP Reference, has initiated an e-mail appeal campaign on behalf of Lin Hai and Wang Youcai.

We encourage other groups to share this alert with their constituencies.

Lin Hai was arrested on 25 March 1998 for providing 30,000 Chinese e-mail addresses to VIP Reference, which publishes a pro-democracy newsletter described by Chinese prosecutors as a "hostile foreign publication." US-based VIP Reference distributes reports on dissident activities, human rights, and other issues to more than 200,000 e-mail addresses in China. Lin Hai has been charged with "inciting to overthrow state power." His trial was conducted in secret in Shanghai on 4 December 1998; the verdict is expected to be announced soon. Lin’s arrest has been described as evidence that the Chinese government is determined to prevent freedom of information on the Internet from posing a challenge to its leadership.

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Wang Youcai, a leader of the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations, is scheduled to go to trial on 17 December in the Hangzhou Intermediate Court on the charge of "inciting to overthrow state power." Among his crimes is sending e-mail messages to dissidents in the US. Wang was arrested in July for trying to organize an opposition party. He was then released and put under house arrest. He was detained again on 2 November and formally charged on 30 November.

More than one million Chinese citizens reportedly have access to the Internet. The government encourages this access to promote national development while, at the same time, fighting to control its use for political purposes.

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The arrests of Lin Hai and Wang Youcai constitute serious violations of international human rights standards enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted without opposition by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. They include:

(Sources of information for this update include Chinese VIP Reference, the Digital Freedom Network, Human Rights in China, and the New York Times. Previous sources of information include the Associated Press and Human Rights in China.)

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send e-mail or fax messages:

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Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Lin Hai and Wang Youcai on the grounds that they were arrested solely for exercising their internationally recognized rights to freedom of expression and association; and urging Chinese officials to cease their interference with electronic communications.

To maintain the legitimacy of our efforts, we request that you send only one message to the e-mail addresses listed below.

Zhu Rongji
Premier of the People’s Republic of China
fax: 86 1 512 5810 (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

People’s Daily
No.2 jin tai xi lu
fax: +8610 65092893

Guangming Daily
106 Yong An Road
fax: +8610 63039387

Jiefang Daily (Shanghai)
No.300 Hankou Road
fax: +8621 63526517

China’s Central TV
No.11, Fuxing Road
Beijing, bj 100859
e-mail: michael@NIC.CCTV.COM

Xinhua News Agency
fax: +8610 63071080
e-mail: aaron@CHINA.COM

Human Rights of China
Bldg.22, Anyuan BeiLi, Asian Games Village
Beijing, Beijing 100029
fax: +86-10-64912961
e-mail: infornew@PUBLIC.BTA.NET.CN

State Development Planning Commission of China
58# SANLIHE road
XICHENG district Beijing China
fax: +8610 68558560



Please send copies of your appeals, and any responses you may receive, or direct any questions you may have to Elisa Munoz by e-mail at EMUNOZ@AAAS.ORG.

The keys to effective appeals are to be courteous and respectful, accurate and precise, impartial in approach, and as specific as possible regarding the alleged violation and the international human rights standards and instruments that apply to the situation. Reference to your scientific organization and professional affiliation is always helpful.

To ensure that appeals are current and credible, please do not continue to write appeals on this case after 90 days from the date of the posting unless an update has been issued.


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