Friday, September 18, 2009

Prepared remarks for 9/18 news conference

For those who are with us today, welcome and thank you for your interest in human rights, freedom and democracy for Mainland China. Today's event highlights the continuing ordeal for those who are persecuted by Mainland China.

We are focused on the case of Zhou Yongjun, who chose to be known as Majer to the English speaking world. He continues to struggle against ongoing mistreatment at the hands of Chinese authorities, and those Chinese authorities -- the Communist Party -- are displaying their arbitrary side. From time to time, Chinese authorities give lip service to the rule of law, but that's when it suits them. I repeat that today, they are displaying their arbitrary side.

In the case of Majer Zhou, we see capricious, mercurial, arbitrary, and absurd behavior by the authorities, because even while they are prosecuting Mr. Zhou, they in fact have no case!

Before we delve into details, let me step back and provide a quick overview -- an orientation for those who aren't familiar with some basic points of background.

In 1989, Majer Zhou was a student at the University of Politics and Law in Beijing. On April 15 that year, a significant Chinese leader died. His name was Hu Yaobang, and he was known to be reform-minded. Out of mourning for Mr. Hu, on April 17, Majer Zhou led his campus to parade into Tiananmen Square.

That march into Tiananmen Square began a whole series of events generally known as the Tiananmen Square or "June 4" uprising. Once they occupied Tiananmen Square, students didn't leave. They issued demands of the government, looking for the reform that seemed lost with the death of Mr. Hu.

As the student action became a pro-democracy movement, multiple campuses in Beijing joined together to form the Autonomous Students Federation of Beijing Universities. Majer Zhou was elected to be the first President of that Federation. As we see it here, Majer Zhou was pivotal as an early Tiananmen Square student leader.

At roughly the same time, Li Jinjin was another early leader in the students' actions. Li Jinjin is with us here today; he is a presenter who will continue our program after my introduction.

The Tiananmen Square democracy movement led to the Tiananmen Square massacre. The Chinese government declared martial law and sent troops to Beijing to retake Tiananmen Square. June 4, 1989 was the date when troops shot their way into the Square, using live ammunition and killing about 3,000 Beijing residents on their way in. That date is reason why Chinese people refer to it as the "June 4" movement and massacre.

Now, Majer Zhou has a post-movement history that is briefly recounted as follows: He was arrested soon after the massacre in 1989, and jailed until his release in 1991. He then made his way to the United States, where he became a legal U.S. permanent resident, and the father of two children who are U.S. citizens. In 1998 he attempted a return to China. He was captured -- jailed a second time as a political prisoner -- and sentenced to three years in a labor camp. He was released in 2001, and returned to the U.S. in 2002.

Last year in late September, he attempted another return to China. The authorities have captured him again, and he is now jailed for his third time as a political prisoner. He has been held for almost a year already. The authorities have arrested him on trumped up charges, and plan to soon prosecute him in a trumped up case.

Ultimately, this case is Tiananmen Square political persecution, carried forward into the present day. However, there are legal nuances and that is why we have Li Jinjin to be our next presenter. Li Jinjin became an attorney, and the editor-in-chief of China Judicial Watch.

I believe that when we analyze the nuances as he will present, it can be concluded that the behavior of the Chinese government in this case is laughably absurd. I've said it once, and I'll say it again: They have no case! As will be presented, they lack a leg to stand on, and they have no business prosecuting Majer Zhou, who is a political prisoner and not a criminal.

The China Support Network demands the immediate, unconditional release of Yongjun ‘Majer’ Zhou.

Now it is my pleasure to now give you --- Li Jinjin.

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