By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The Macau Joint Committee for the Development of Democracy handed in a petition yesterday pressing for the release of jailed Chinese dissidents, requesting that the SAR Government deliver it to Premier Wen Jiabao during his two-day visit in the territory.
The letter, addressed to Prime Minister Wen, says that China, as one of the signatories of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, should have the responsibility to implement the regulations related to the covenant and also to respect basic human rights that uphold people’s dignity.
Chairman of the joint committee and lawmaker Au Kam San said it is “unacceptable” to see people sentenced to jail because of their speech, which, he added, has “completely violated” the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.
Zhao Lianhai, whose son became ill from melamine tainted milk in the Mainland, founded the “Alliance for Kidney Stone Babies’ Families” and campaigned for compensation such as lifelong free body checks and treatment for all the victims.
He was found guilty of “inciting social disorder” and sentenced to two and a half years in prison on Wednesday.
The joint committee said they “strongly oppose” the imprisonment and demand the Chinese Government free Zhao, and also properly arrange the medical care for all the child victims of the 2008 contaminated milk powder scandal.
In addition, the democrats are pressing the Central Government to release human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, from his 11 year imprisonment.
Au Kam San said the Nobel Peace Prize represents a “recognition from the international society to the efforts Chinese people have put into striving for the common values of human civilisation and their peaceful and rational ways to express political points of view”.
Hence, the joint committee urges the Chinese government to “take advantage of the opportunity to encourage its people to use non-violent means for the pursuit of national progress”, and restore freedom for all the jailed dissidents and activists such as Liu Xiaobo, Hu Jia, Yang Chunlin, Huang Qi and Tan Zuoren.
A reform in the political regime also needs to be carried out as soon as possible in order to let China gradually step towards democracy, the petition letter highlighted.
Au Kam San told reporters that he believed the letter must get to Premier Wen, but added that it will then all depend on how the Premier will react to it.
He also said that the joint committee hopes Wen Jiabao can visit the local neighbourhoods and get close to residents during his packed schedule in Macau.