The “Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR) in Mainland China” was initiated by many overseas organizations. One month since the pledge assembly was held at the end of March in Hong Kong, the HRTR coordination center has received large numbers of photos showing “Human Rights Torch” signs in Guangzhou and surrounding cities. More visibly in Shanwei, where the massacre happened to quell local residents' protests for their land rights on December 6, 2005.
According to the HRTR coordination center, HRTR posters are mostly seen in Nanhai and Shunde, Panyu and Dongwan.
In recent years, the local officials in these areas have sold massive tracts of farm land at low prices and misappropriated farmers compensation funds using obscure bookkeeping. Serious human rights conflicts have happened repeatedly because the farmers have not received proper compensation and settlements. The authorities suppress them with iron fists. The villagers have been picked up, beaten, detained, and sent to the labor and brainwashing center. Currently, there are still many farmer representatives who have lost their land and are being monitored and suppressed by the authorities. They live the life of a fugitive.
HRTR Empowers Human Rights Quest
Regarding the rapid spread of HRTR, Guangdong human rights attorney Tang Jingling said, “As the coming of HRTR with the slogan 'The same world, the same human rights” that I saw, it really arouses support and praise from the local people. People can feel the quest of the slogan personally as if the slogan is shouting out from the bottom of their hearts, because they have suffered all kinds of violations of their rights.”
Since HRTR went into Mainland China, it has already been seen in Beijing, Shanghai, Shandong Jinan, Hebei Shijiazhaung, Hunan Changsha, Hubei, Hebei, Heilongjian, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Inner Mongolia, Chongqing, Guangdong, etc. The appellants in Beijing have also participated in supporting HRTR.
Zhong Weiguan, a freelance scholar now residing in Germany and one of the founding members of the “China Free Culture Movement” and “Human Rights Torch Relay” in Mainland China said, he “thinks that the Mainland peoples' reaction and the spread of HRTR is an inevitable phenomenon. Ever since a long time ago, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has cruelly suppressed human rights and ethnic faith, and this time the CCP further wants to use the Olympics to consolidate its autocracy.
“But the CCP has overlooked the fundamental spirit of the Olympics which includes people's pursuit of their hard won lives and faith and the pursuit of free thinking. The spread of HRTR at this time satisfies the needs of the people, thus the movement is going to continue to spread quickly and widely and will make more people aware.”
According to the HRTR coordination center, the relay will reach southwest regions of China in May.
Xia Han, the contact person of the HRTR coordination center, indicated, “One could see that the human rights concept was in agreement with the expectation of the Chinese people, and at the same time we expect the human rights torch will develop more [momentum] swiftly and vigorously. There were human rights torch relay logos everywhere in Mainland today, people's voices demanding human rights and opposing persecution were getting louder and louder. People's dissatisfaction with the CCP authority is a universal social phenomenon, the quest for human rights does not vary by region or economic strata, and the people's quest for human rights is a universal value.”