January, 20, 2011
As President Obama welcomed Chinese President Hu Jintao to the White House on Wednesday, a press availability was held at the Congress at the same time Hu Jintao and Barack Obama were speaking to reporters at the White House.
Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ), Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) highlighted the state of freedom of expression in China and the fate of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, sentenced to 11 years in jail.
Among the speakers, Rebiya Kadeer, prominent human rights advocate and leader of the Uyghur minority, whose children are jailed in China, highlighted leaders who are imprisoned, arrested for revealing the truth in China. Geng He, the wife of Gao Zhisheng, a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer who was “disappeared” by the Chinese government in April 2010, spoke of the hardships her and their children face in the unjust absence of a husband and father. Grace, 17, publicly humiliated and beaten by police men, and long with her classmates, was forbidden from taking computer class and using cell phones at school, due to fears she might send messaged to her father or contact the outside world. Peter, 7, holds his father close to him via tying their hearts together with a symbolic red strong.
MEDIA ADVISORY Press Availability with Human Rights Defenders and Former Political Prisoners on the State of Human Rights in China
Washington, DC - As President Obama welcomes Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House, and immediately following the House Foreign Affairs Committee Briefing on China, Amnesty International, Foreign Policy Initiative, Freedom House, Freedom Now, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Tibet, the Project 2049 Institute, Reporters Without Borders and the Uyghur American Association will hold a press availability for human rights defenders, former political prisoners and other witnesses to the Chinese government’s systematic abuses of human rights.
Wednesday, January 19th
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
2255 Rayburn House Office Building
The following individuals will make brief remarks and take questions from the media:
- Wan Yanhai, co-founder with currently detained activist Hu Jia of Aizhixing Institute, of one of China’s first and most prominent HIV/AIDS NGOs, and Charter 08 signatory. Wan and his family fled Chinese government harassment last year, and currently he is living in the United States.
- Ngawang Sangdrol, Tibetan nun and human rights activist, who was jailed by Chinese authorities in Tibet at age 15 for her participation in a peaceful protest with other monks and nuns. She spent 10 years in Drapchi Prison for peaceful political activities, before being released on the eve of the 2002 U.S.-China summit.
- Rebiya Kadeer, the most prominent human rights advocate and leader of the Uyghur leader. She spent six years in a Chinese prison for sharing newspaper articles with a visiting congressional staff delegation; prior to her arrest she was one of the wealthiest businesswomen in China. After she continued speaking out on Uyghur rights issues from exile, her children have been harassed and arrested by the Chinese authorities.
- Geng He, the wife of Gao Zhisheng, a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer who was “disappeared” by the Chinese government in April 2010, and has not been heard from since. During previous detentions, authorities brutally tortured Mr. Gao. Geng He and her children, Peter and Grace, escaped China and sought asylum in the United States just prior to her husband’s disappearance.
- Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Press Freedom, will also make remarks; other Members of Congress are invited. The organizers are grateful to the office of Congressman Chris Smith for their assistance in sponsoring this event.