A group of alumni from Shanghai's Jiaotong University have written a letter to CCP leader Hu Jintao, calling for the release of a fellow graduate who has been on hunger strike for over two years.
Qu Yanlai, an award-winning engineer from Jiaoton's class of 2000, was forcibly taken by authorities five years ago this week, and sentenced to five years imprisonment in June 2003, for practicing the spiritual discipline Falun Gong. His hunger strike had lasted over 780 days when the open letter was written and released in Chinese three months ago.
Qu Yanlai's current condition is unknown. Qu's sister, Qu Yanyan, reportedly visited Shanghai Tilanqiao Prison to see him in March of this year, where she was then detained by Shanghai authorities. A trial, illegal under Shanghai's legal system, was scheduled for last Friday (September 21).
The open letter was signed by 19 intellectuals who are presently living in Canada, the US, Taiwan, Japan, and the United Kingdom. In the letter, the writers mention how their connection to Jiaotong University bonds them to Qu Yanlai's particular case of persecution. Detainment and torture of Falun Gong practitioners is common practice in mainland China, and has increased in Shanghai over the past two years, due to pressure from the Chinese Communist regime. The open letter appears below.
An Open Letter to Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China, and Wen Jiabao, Premier of the Chinese State Council From a Group of Jiaotong University Overseas Alumni
President Hu and Premier Wen,
We are a group of alumni from Jiaotong University, now living in different areas around the world. Over the past few years we have been studying the development and current state of Chinese society with a wish that China will be able to prosper, be stable, and be known again as “the nation of courtesy.” We have been following reports published in the foreign media on how Qu Yanlai, a top scholar from Jiaotong University, has met with brutal persecution in Tilanqiao Prison under the instigation of the Shanghai Political and Judicial Committee, simply because he practices Falun Gong.
Tragically, this appears to be a very typical case of persecution. Recently, we heard that the prison police have continued to persecute Qu, who has now been on hunger strike for over four-and-a-half years. He is on the brink of death and was rushed to the prison hospital this March. Moreover, Qu's younger sister Qu Yanyan was also forcibly taken by the Shanghai National Security Bureau after visiting her brother in jail on March 20.
The guilty Shanghai authorities have, for the past five years, neglected both national and international concerns raised over Qu's imprisonment, which has stirred up feelings of injustice in the hearts of people who respect Qu's talent. Instead of reducing the persecution, the authorities have increased the pressure on Qu and his family members.
Although some of us have not met Qu personally, we are bonded by being alumni at the same school. We cannot sit and watch our fellow student suffer injustice and torture as he lies on his death bed. We are raising this case to you both as leaders of China to provide a just and fair solution.
Qu Yanlai graduated from the Energy Engineering Program in 2000 from Shanghai Jiaotong University. He is a courteous, considerate, and upright gentleman who is thought well of by many. With great talent and a strong work ethic, he excelled in academia, receiving the Gold Award in the National Chemistry and Mathematics Olympiad Competition.
At midnight on September 30, 2002, Qu was forcibly taken by the Taopu Police Station in Shanghai City. On June 2, 2003, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment in the Putuo District People's Courts for no reason other than following Falun Gong and it principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.
In order to fight for his basic human rights in prison, Qu demonstrated bravery and perseverance by going on hunger strike to silently appeal against the persecution. His defense lawyer Mr. Guo Guoding once wrote about him passionately, “In order to protest against his unfair sentence, uphold his freedom of belief as protected by the Chinese Constitution, and defend his integrity and human rights, Qu underwent the longest and the most noble hunger strike in human history rejecting food and water for 780 days! Throughout this period, he has been brutally beaten, force-fed (resulting in internal bleeding in his stomach four times and hospitalized for four months), and almost died on numerous occasions.”
What courage! What a man of honour! With great talent, perseverance, and holding to one's belief and protecting the good, Qu is true elite of China! In the current society of moral breakdown in mainland China, such a person is rare indeed! Like a fountain of spring, one can see the hopes of our Chinese race in his example. With his talent, had he been able to pursue further studies, he would have certainly become a knowledgeable, revered scholar. He is a strong and brave Chinese patriot.
In comparison, the gangs persecuting him, led by Jiang Zemin, are simply clowns and devils that bring humiliation to our great nation. Even though Jiang apparently had some connection with Jiaotong University, he is regarded by most of our peers as scum and cannot be compared to genuine students such as Qu. It is terribly tragic that such a good person could be mistreated by the Shanghai authorities, and that even his visiting relatives are persecuted. Despite this, we believe that there are still people with righteousness in the Chinese government, people, like us, who can't bear to see such a situation.
As Qu's alumni, we truly appreciate this young man's great capabilities, we deeply respect his integrity in protecting his belief, and we feel angered over the tremendous injustice Qu and his family have suffered and are extremely worried for the safety of Qu's younger sister.
Gao Zhisheng, the noted human rights lawyer fighting for human rights inside China has already written to both of you, describing the torture and persecution against prisoners of conscience for their beliefs. He was able to verify numerous persecution cases in his investigation, and has also appealed for an end to the persecution. Lawyer Gao's open letters are detailed, logical, and are widely welcomed both overseas and in mainland China.
We are certain that you both well know that a lawyer like Mr. Gao, who has risked his life to appeal to the authorities, or a rare talent like Qu Yanlai, who excels in all areas of life, are the foundation of prosperity and stability in China. Yet, the authorities have committed heinous crimes in persecuting Gao and Qu, allowing evilness to gain power but losing the hearts of the people in the process. All of us Chinese both in and outside China feel terribly concerned and disappointed with these injustices. This is definitely not the road to take down our nation. We hope that you will listen to our appeal, take note of Qu and his sister's safety, and encourage the Shanghai authorities to respect human rights, respect fundamental values, and release Qu and his sister as soon as possible!
A Group of Jiaotong University Overseas Alumni