New Grassroots Database Tracks China’s Political Prisoners
A Chinese human rights advocacy group has established a database of political prisoners in Mainland China.
China Political Prisoner Concern (CPPC), run by volunteers, set up a Chinese-language website recently to collect, verify, and publish the status of political prisoners in China.
Since its inception on Feb. 1, the group, consisting mainly of human rights activists in mainland China, has already published a list of 100 political prisoners. They include democracy activists, dissidents, human rights activists, as well as Tibetan, Uyghur, Christian, and Falun Gong prisoners of conscience, and others. Among them are Xu Zhiyong (No. 54), founder of the “New Citizens Campaign,” and Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti (No. 59).
Some of CPPC’s volunteers are past political prisoners. During the past three months, they have collected and categorized large amounts of data and thousands of photos and have produced the first 100 prisoners’ profiles. More profiles and updates will be added on a continuous basis, according to New Tang Dynasty Television, based in New York.
The aim of the project is to effect the release of every one of the prisoners. By highlighting their cases, the group hopes to draw greater international attention to the issue. Another goal is to boost China’s social progress.
Chinese human rights lawyer Tang Jingling has already been collecting data on prisoners of conscience since 2008. He also called on Chinese Internet users to send postcards to the prisoners.
Tang told NTD that there are many Chinese prisoners of conscience. If since the June 4, 1989 massacre someone had collected information on these prisoners and systematically launched rescue actions, including sending postcards, it would have put huge pressure on the Chinese communist regime. At the same time, it would have also encouraged those imprisoned for reasons of conscience.
The prisoner list is likely to become very long, should the CPPC volunteer staff be able to collect all of the prisoners’ identities.
The World Uyghur Congress website lists dozens of Uyghur political prisoners, many of them writers, journalists and webmasters who are imprisoned on lengthy terms on charges related to freedom of speech, freedom of association, and religious charges.
The real number is likely much higher, but due to the restrictions imposed by the Chinese authorities to reveal details on imprisoned Uyghurs, it is impossible to determine the exact number.
The number of Falun Gong practitioners who have been unlawfully detained is likely in the hundreds of thousands according to incomplete records kept by Falun Gong groups, such as Minghui.org and the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong.
If those who died in detention during the past 15 years are added to the list, as was human rights activist, Cao Shunli (No. 63), the list may number in the many millions.
*Image of “prisioner” via Shutterstock