November 27, 2002

Frankfurt, Germany

IGFM: "The first meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister after the Restructuring of the Chinese Party Leadership must include Human Rights Topics discussions."

The International Association for Human Rights (IGFM-Internationale Gesellschaft fuer Menschenrechte) appealed Monday to Mr. Joschka Fischer, Germany's Foreign Minister. He will meet Thursday in Berlin with his Chinese counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan, to intervene for the release of former Berlin student Xiong Wei.

"We want to know that Xiong Wei is safe and beseech you to assertively bring about her release," so demanded Karl Hafen, acting head of the IGFM, in an open letter to the German Foreign Minister. He continued further, "the first meeting with the newly appointed Chinese Foreign Minister must address human rights issues."

The IGFM also expressed concern about the present Hong Kong situation, where the rights of people of differing worldviews will be curtailed and their freedom of expression will be in doubt, according to the newly ratified recent Hong Kong law. This law represents the transference of the state-controlled system of censure, so prevalent on the Chinese Mainland, to Hong Kong and portends an end to the "One Country-Two Systems" policy.

The following is the text of the open letter to Minister Joschka Fischer.

Frankfurt, November 27, 2002

Dear Foreign Minister Mr. Fischer:

At the occasion of Mr. Tang Jiazuan, Chinese Foreign Minister's visit in Germany, we appeal to your generosity to broach a specific human rights concern with your Chinese counterpart. The case concerns an innocently accused and incarcerated woman named Xiong Wei. Ms. She had been a graduate student at the university in Berlin and is now being held in a Xian forced labor camp, close to Beijing. She is being punished with 1-1/2 years of "re-education-through-labor for distributing leaflets about Falun Gong in China. She was arrested on February 5th, 2002 and has since been held in various forced labor camps.

Her friends in Germany fear the worst -- that she is being subjected to brainwashing, sleep deprivation, beatings, electro-shocks, rape and hard labor. We want to be assured that Xiong Wei is safe and pray that you will do everything in your power to affect her release.

We are gravely concerned about another matter, the much-debated "Article 23" in Hong Kong that is to take effect under duress from the government in Beijing. This new law is designed to silence those who hold different worldviews [than those sanctioned by the government]. If this law is put into effect, it will not only strike as targets those who hold differing opinions, but it could also silence journalists.

It is sad to observe how Hong Kong is slowly but surely losing her onetime function as a model for the rest of China; to watch how Beijing makes a mockery of the assured "One Country --Two Systems" policy China had agreed to five years ago.

We beg you to prevent the implementation of "Article 23" and to demand that the Chinese government keeps to its promised agreement of "One Country-Two Systems."

(Original text in German)