Dui Hua Turns Ten in Year of Anniversaries
The year 2009 is one with many notable anniversaries for those mindful of the struggles for human rights and democracy in China—including Dui Hua, which will mark ten years of advocacy in the spring. Ninety years ago, the May 4th Movement began in Beijing, and the People’s Republic of China was established sixty years ago. Fifty years ago, in March of 1959, Tibetans staged an uprising and the Dalai Lama fled to India. Thirty years ago, the United States and China normalized diplomatic relations with the publication in 1979 of the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations. And twenty years ago, the May 1989 killings in Tiananmen Square shocked the world and ushered in a new era of human rights work that Dui Hua and others continue to this day.
Since its founding in 1999, Dui Hua has grown from a staff of four people working out of an apartment in San Francisco into one of the world’s most respected organizations promoting human rights in China and the United States. Now with a staff of ten working out of offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong, the foundation has made significant contributions to the improvement of human rights worldwide. Throughout 2009, Dui Hua will commemorate ten years of activism in the pages of this newsletter, on our website, and in other forums. We look forward to tracing back a decade’s work—and celebrating this anniversary—with our supporters.
Dui Hua Takes Part in UN’s Universal Periodic Review of China
On February 9, 2009, Dui Hua will attend the first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of China at the United Nations in Geneva, represented by Senior Manager of Research and Hong Kong Operations Joshua Rosenzweig. Last year, Dui Hua submitted recommendations on China’s penal and legal systems, using its special consultative status granted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The foundation’s submission centers on transparency regarding access to criminal trials, court verdicts, and information on criminal statistics. (The submission will be available on www.duihua.org after UPR concludes.)
Established by the UN General Assembly in 2006, UPR is a process that all 192 UN member States must go through every four years. UPR allows a country to present information on its human rights record, discuss its work to fulfill international human rights commitments, and respond to concerns raised by other countries and UPR participants.
Kamm Surveys Transition in the Capital
Executive Director John Kamm spent the first half of December in New York and Washington, DC, where he met with individuals involved with the transition to the new administration of President-elect Obama, as well as senior representatives of the Chinese mission to the United Nations in New York and the Chinese embassy in Washington.
Kamm spoke with officials at the State Department, the United States Trade Representative, and other departments of the executive branch about the state of US-China relations as the Bush administration was drawing to a close. He also met with key staff of Congress working on US-China relations. Two areas were the focus of discussions: the spiraling economic crisis, which raises the possibility of instability due to mounting unemployment in China’s coastal export belt, and China’s decision to execute the scientist and businessman Wo Weihan for espionage, an execution that took place in late November despite appeals for clemency by the family, the US and EU governments, and NGOs, including Dui Hua. ■