22nd Street News

The Caltech/Pasadena Area Group 22 NewsLetter

Vol.IV No.4, April 1996.

This is our current newsletter, except that Urgent Actions have been removed since they are not public domain. If you would like a copy of our newsletter (either electronically or via snail-mail) please contact us.


Coordinator's Corner

Fang Li Zhi, Science and Democracy

At the beginning of this century, China was struggling to keep up with 
the newly industrialized West.  Many Chinese intellectuals had begun a 
debate which would reverberate throughout the century about how China 
could best modernize-- would it follow a Western model or find its own 
course?  More particularly, how would science and democracy, which were 
seemingly the keys to the wealth, power and stability of the West be 
integrated with Chinese culture?  "Science and Democracy" became the 
main slogan of the "May Fourth" movement, named after student 
demonstrations in Tiananmen Square on May 4, 1919 protesting the 
acquiescence of the Chinese government to the Treaty of Versailles, 
which ceded large amounts of Chinese territory to Japan, sparking 
concern about national survival.

"Science and Democracy" was revived as the slogan of the student 
demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in 1989 in part because, in the years 
leading up to the spring '89 demonstrations, a Chinese astrophysicist, 
Fang Lizhi, had became an outspoken advocate for academic freedom and 
democracy as essential ingredients in China's efforts to bring about 
economic modernization.  Fang's views gradually broadened into direct 
criticism of Marxism and advocacy for universal human rights.  Fang's 
leadership among Chinese democracy activists, has given rise to 
comparisons to Andrei Sakharov.  Fang did not have a highly visible role 
during the 1989 demonstrations, but the Chinese government considered 
him culpable anyway, and he and his wife took refuge in the U.S. embassy 
after the massacre and were there for a year before they were allowed to 
leave for the West.  He is presently a professor at the University of 

At our April monthly meeting, several group members will present 
additional biographical detail about Fang's life and report their 
impressions of essays and speeches written by Fang.  This discussion 
should give rise to some very interesting questions beyond the obvious 
insights into the current situation in China.  What is the relationship 
between science and human rights or science and democracy?  And what is 
the role of the scientist in the human rights movement?  Or put in more 
personal terms, what is the motivation of a Sakharov or Fang to become 
involved in these issues and what special opportunities are there for 
scientists to engage others in the human rights debate?  I have provided 
some additional resources in the "Web Tips" column to aid in our 
discussion: an excellent article about Fang from the Atlantic Monthly 
and a link to the AAAS Human Rights Committee's site for suggestions on 
how scientists can become active in the human rights movement.  This 
should be a very interesting discussion for scientists and 
non-scientists alike and I hope to see you all there!

Martha Ter Maat
Group Coordinator

Letter Tally - Feb-Mar-Apr 

China Campaign .5cm  20
Nigeria-Kenya  .5cm 18
Death Penalty .5cm   2
Bosnia   .5cm           6
Other    .5cm          36

Upcoming Events

Monday, April 22. 7:30 PM  Catalina Rec. Room 1

Special Earth Week Video Night offering "The Burning Season" dramatizing 
the life of environmental and labor activist Chico Mendes.  Stars the 
late Raul Julia.

Tuesday, Apri 23, 7:00 PM, 980 N. Fair Oaks

Dr. Hassan Hathout speaks at the AFSC bookstore about his new book "The 
Islamic Mind."  Veteran group members will remember that Dr. Hathout 
visited us some months ago and shared his experience being detained in 
the same prison as our action file prisoner, Ali.

Thursday, April 25, 7:30 PM Caltech Y Lounge

Monthly Meeting at the Caltech Y Lounge.  Discussion of Fang Li Zhi and 
the role of the scientist in the human rights movement.

Friday, April 26

Earth Day Tabling at Caltech.  (Details later)

Sunday, April 28, 4:00 PM, Irvine Presbyterian Church, 5 Meadowbrook, Irvine

"Celebrating Diversity in Our Own Backyard"  Gospel Concert/Benefit 
sponsored by Orange County groups and Christ our Redeemer AME Church.  
Features speakers Bishop Garnett Henning, just returned from Liberia and 
Walter Lam, former prisoner of conscience from Uganda.  Admission Free, 
Donation Requested.


The Group 22 Minutes

March Meeting Highlights

Egyptian Action File Case.  Martha kicked off the meeting by announcing 
that the International Secretariat has decided to discontinue the action 
file.  Other strategies will be used to continue work on Ali's 
situation.  Revae will look into getting a new case for the group.

Death Penalty.  Both ballot propositions expanding the death penalty 
were passed by overwhelming majorities.  Senator Dole visited the 
execution chamber in a campaign ploy.  Meanwhile the next execution has 
been scheduled for May 3.  Martha will contact Neighborhood Church as 
well as All Saints to see what kind of vigil or other event should be 
arranged for May 2nd or thereabouts.  With a new member from Orange 
Grove Meeting we may also get them involved.  Martha also reported that 
the students in the Western region are working on a death penalty 
project and need support from adult volunteers.

Jim followed up the movie "Sakharov," our last video night offering, 
with some biographical details. 

Pat filled everyone in on Wei Jing Sheng and Democracy Wall.  Wei is one 
of the primary cases in the campaign.  Area high school students will be 
putting together a "Democracy Wall" with a work day scheduled for April 
14 to help publicize the case at their schools.  Next meeting will focus 
on physicist  Fang Li Zhi and the role of the scientist in the human 
rights movement.  There was some discussion of bringing Fang to Caltech.  
Pat and Jen will look into funding sources. (Post meeting update:  Fang 
is definitely interested, but his schedule is better for fall).

Jim updated everyone on the Knightsbridge Theater Fund-Raiser.  Date has 
been postponed to June 1, but we think this is final.  Pat and Jim will 
work on publicity strategies but everyone is exhorted to invite lots of 
friends to go.

Martha reported that discussions are underway to get a Southern 
California electronic mail discussion list going.  The regional office 
is looking for volunteers for technical assistance and maintenance of 
such a list,  also for design and maintenance of web pages for various 
AI functions.

The Web-tips of the month. April

AAAS Human Rights Page


In keeping with the science and human rights theme for the month we are 
featuring the American Academy for the Advancement of Science's human 
rights committee page.  Probably the most useful aspect of this site at 
the moment is their human rights network which will forward actions 
involving scientists or medical personnel to you just like an Amnesty 
Urgent Action.  Some of the cases are in fact identical or similar to 
cases you would receive through Amnesty, but there are others involving 
issues of academic freedom which would not necessarily come under 
Amnesty's mandate.  The site also contains descriptions of projects 
regarding the use of computers and information technology for human 
rights and forensic anthropology and human rights, as well as 
delegations, a consultants directory and other special projects of the 

Andrei Sakharov Foundation


We're throwing this one in for April because it was mentioned at the 
last meeting when Jim used it to brief us on Andrei Sakharov and Elena 
Bonner's careers.  The site is a bit underdeveloped at this point, so 
bookmark it and check back in a few months.

Fang Lizhi: "China's Andrei Sakharov"


The folks at the Atlantic Monthly web site have obligingly provided a 
reprint of an excellent 1988 article about Fang Lizhi, "China's Andrei 
Sakharov," by veteran China watcher, Orville Schell, just in time for 
our April meeting discussion.  Read it now, because it will probably 
expire when they update their site with the May issue, plus it will get 
you up to speed for our April 25 discussion.

Chinese Orphanages: The Dying Rooms


Here's a page featuring some stills from the British documentary about 
Chinese orphanages, "The Dying Rooms."  If you're suspicous that this 
presentation seems a trifle sensational (what with the flaming red 
background and all), don't stop there...


Human Rights Watch/Asia exposed conditions in Chinese orphanages in a 
January report which received extensive media coverage.  Various reports 
and press releases on the issue are available at the Human Rights Watch 
gopher site.


And putting the orphanage crisis in perspective is an Atlantic Monthly 
article which is conveniently on-line at Atlantic's site.  (It's the 
April issue if you want the newsstand version).  This article may expire 
when their May issue is released, so be sure to check it out soon.

A variety of opinions on the orphanage controversy can also be found at 
a site for parents of adopted Chinese children:


and at the One World site:


The China Campaign 

There is a glimmer of Hope  
By Pierre Sane, Sec. Gen., Amnesty International

March 13 marks the launch by Amnesty International of our 
campaign against the systematic violation of human rights in 

We said to the Chinese government: we want to talk to you 
about the need for change. Sadly, we have been met by a 
closed door. The Chinese government has responded publicly 
by saying that our campaign is not even worth refutation. 
But behind the scenes, the truth is very different. 

The Chinese government is acutely sensitive on human rights 
and will go to any lengths to block criticism and scrutiny 
of its appalling record. It seeks to silence organizations 
like Amnesty International and other critics. Sadly, other 
governments fall into line. Amnesty International delegates 
in Bangkok were detained by the Thai police and prevented 
from attending our press conference to launch the campaign. 
Later the same day Thai riot police formed a human wall to 
protect the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok from peaceful Amnesty 

Amnesty members in Nepal were detained yesterday merely for 
handing out leaflets about our campaign. They have also been 
threatened with detention if they demonstrate about human 
rights violations in China outside the Chinese Embassy. 

The Chinese government is not content with silencing those 
who speak up in China. Their message is loud and clear: no 
discussion about our human rights record. Anywhere, by 
anyone, at any time. 

Amnesty International is prepared to stand up to attempts to 
silence us. What about governments? 

Today, in Geneva, the United Nations Commission on Human 
Rights will begin to scrutinize the state of human rights 
internationally. Governments around the world are deciding 
whether that scrutiny should extend to China. 

At the same time, the Chinese government is pulling out all 
the stops in an attempt to block the Commission passing a 
resolution critical of China. 

Will these governments listen to what the people of China 
want? Or will the politicians fudge some backroom deal, out 
of the sight of the millions to whom they are accountable? 

Recently, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, 
summary or arbitrary detentions stated his concern about 
violations of the right to life in China. 

The UN Committee against Torture has voiced its concerns 
about patterns of torture in China. 

The Commission's own Working Group on Arbitrary Detention 
has concluded that prisoners have been arbitrarily detained 
in violation of international human rights standards.  Yet 
governments still waver in voting for that resolution at the 

At the moment, France and Germany appear not to support a 
resolution on China. They may even be prepared to break with 
other European Union governments who want the Commission to 

Premier Li Peng is due to visit France in April. What 
conclusions can we draw from this? That the French 
government is more concerned with selling Airbus air planes 
than stopping women being given forced abortions or raped in 
custody? That the German government is more concerned with 
selling cars than stopping Tibetan nuns from being tortured? 

Will the European Union water down its position to the 
lowest common denominator, rather than taking a principled 
stand for the human rights of 1.2 billion people? 

The other response by the Chinese government is to reject 
Amnesty's concerns, saying that Western and Eastern 
countries have different concepts of human rights.  

This is just a smokescreen. Put up by a government trying to 
legitimize the human rights violations they commit in the 
name of power. 

This is not the view of the people of Asia themselves. 

Ask Asian people about their view of human rights. Ask the 
victims. Ask the human rights defenders in Asia, from Korea 
to Indonesia. Ask Amnesty's many Asian members from Nepal to 
Japan. Pain and terror do not differ from culture to 

Do the parents of a man executed after an unfair trial think 
that this is part of an Asian cultural tradition? 

Does the woman repeatedly tortured with an electric shock  
baton agree that this is something that is justifiable 
because she is Asian? 

But something can be done to help Chinese citizens persuade 
their government to stop violating their human rights. 

There is a glimmer of hope that if we stand firm, it can 
make a difference. 


Tang Yuanjuan, an assistant engineer at a car factory in Changchun,
Jilin province, was among a group of workers arrested in June 1989.
The workers were accused of forming a "counter-revolutionary" group,
and organizing two peaceful demonstrations in Changchun during the
pro-democracy movement.  In November 1990 Tang Yuanjuan, as the
alleged leader of the group, was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment.

In April 1991 Tang Yuanjuan was transferred to the Lingyuan No. 2
Labor-Reform Detachment of Liaoning province.  he was assigned to a
special squadron of political prisoners jailed during the crackdown on
the pro-democracy movement.  At least 13 of these prisoners were
reportedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment during 1991 and

In May 1991 Tang Yuanjuan was among 11 political prisoners who were
severely beaten for refusing to acknowledge that they were
"criminals."  After the beating, Tang Yuanjuan and others were taken
to the "correction" unit.  There, these prisoners were stripped naked
and repeatedly given shocks with high voltage electric batons on the
head, neck, shoulders, armpits, stomach, and the inside of the legs.
When the electric baton used against Tang Yuanjuan ran out of power, a
guard wearing leather boots kicked him.  Two of his ribs were broken
as a result.

Similar incidents of toruture occurred during the following months.
The Chinese authorities subsequently denied that the priosners had
been tortured and claimed that the allegations had been investigated,
but provided no evidence of this.  

Amnesty International is urging the authorities to launch a thorough
and impartial judicial investigation into reports of torture at the
Lingyuan No. 2 Labor-Reform Detachment.  It is also calling for the
immediate and unconditional release of Tang Huanjuan, a prisoner of

Write to:

Wang Yunkun Shengzhang
Governor, Jilin Provincial People's Government
Jilinsheng Renmin Zhengfu
11 Xinfa lu
Changchunshi 130051
People's Republic of China
Salutation:  Dear Governor

Send a copy to:

His Excellency Li Daoyu
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington D.C. 20008
Salutation:  Dear Ambassador

Great news!!  We have a new prisoner case - this time a Prisoner of 
Conscience (POC).  His name is Ngawang Pekar (pronounced roughly 
Naw-ja-wang Pee-kar) and he's a 29-year old Tibetan monk.  I spoke to 
the folks in our section office today and they are sending me the case 
file.  I don't know all of the details yet, but the AI folks who 
assigned us the case said that Ngawang was sentenced to 8 years in 
prison for his "pro-democracy" activities.  He has been denied medical 
treatment since he has been in prison and was one of 4 people who 
witnessed and spoke out about the denial of medical treatment to a 
fellow prisoner who ended up dying from the lack of medical attention.

Our work on Abd' al-Daim al-Wardi Ahmed 'Ali's action file, our 
Egyptian prisoner, was long and steady work for which we should all be 
very proud. The Amnesty Secretariat decided to close out many of these 
Egypt cases for lack of information about the prisoners (i.e., they 
never knew for certain why he was arrested) and because they felt they 
had learned all they would ever learn about them.  I have forwarded 
copies of the letters we wrote on Ali's behalf, the petitions we 
circulated, and the many activities in which we participated--such as 
having speakers from and about Egypt and the "100 days of letters" 
campaign--to our section office.  They will send this information to 
the AI archives to be stored with records of Ali's case. Many thanks to 
all of you for your years of hard work!!  

I hope for a better resolution-such as a quick release!-of our new POC. 


South East Asian Regional Network.

Socialist Republic OF Vietnam:  The Death Penalty

Amnesty International is gravely concerned that, according to an
official review of the People's Supreme Court in Ha Noi, over 100
people were sentenced to death during 1995.  A report in the official
newspaper Viet Nam News on 10 February 1996 states that 95 people
were sentenced to death for "homidical" cases, eight people for drug
smuggling convictions and one person for rape.  Despite the fact that
only 11 executions were officially reported during the course of 1995,
Amnesty International fears that most of the 104 death sentences may
already have been carried out.  It is believed that executions are
carried out on a regular basis.

The death penalty in Viet Nam is applicable for offenses ranging from
treason and offenses violating "national security" to economic
offenses such as manufacturing and selling counterfeit products.
Altogether 34 articles in the Criminal Code stipulate the death
penalty as an optional punishment.  

According to the Law on Criminal Procedure defendants sentenced to
death by a first court are allowed right of appeal to the People's
Supreme Court.  The People's Supreme Court and the Chief Procurator
should make a decision on the case within two months.  If the sentence
is upheld by the Supreme People's Court, defendants have the right to
appeal to the President for clemency; this appeal must be lodged
wihtin seven days.  Execution is by firing squad. 

Amensty International opposes the death penalty in all cases on the
grounds that it is a violation of the right to life and the right not
to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment, as proclained in the Universal Declaraion of Human Rights
(Articles 3 and 5) and the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR - Articles 6 and 7).  The Vietnamese
Government ratified the ICCPR in 1982, and is therefore bound by its

Amnesty International's concern about the use of the death penalty in
Viet Nam is heightened by serious concerns about the judicial system.
Defendants do not receive a fair trial and their rights as suspects
under the ICCPR are routinely ignored.  People can be killed by the
state in a country where due process of international law is not

Amnesty International is calling on the Vietnamese Government to
commute all existing death sentences and to give full consideration to
abolition of the death penalty as a punishment for all offenses in
law.  In addition, it urges the govenrnment to sign and ratify the
Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, adopted by the United Nations
General Assembly in December 1989, which entered into force in July
1991.  This Optional Protocol aims for worldwide abolition of the
death penalty.

Please write courteous letters to the Vietnamese authorities listed
below.  Letters should state Amnesty International's unconditional
opposition to the death penalty as a violation of the right to life
and the right not to be subjected to cruel, unhuman or degrading
treatment or punishement, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR).  Welcome the fact that the Vietnamese government has
ratified the ICCPR, and note that this places obligations on the
authorities to uphold the fundamental human rights of individuals in
Viet Nam.

Express your deep concern that:

*  according to a review of the People's Supreme Court in Ha Noi, 104
people were sentenced to death in 1995

*  11 people were officially reported to have been exectued during

*  most of the 104 people sentenced to death may have already been

*  defendants in Viet Nam may be sentenced to death when their rights
to a fair trial as defined in international law are routinely ignored

Urge the government to:

*  immediately commute all outstanding death sentences

*  give full consideration to abolition of the death penalty as
punishment in law

*  take th epositive step of signing the Second Optional Protocol to
the ICCPR, which aims for worlwide abolition of the death penalty


His Excellency Le Duc Anh
Office of the President
35 Ngo Quyen
Ha Noi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

His Excellency Vo Van Kiet
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Hoang Hoa Tham
Ha Noi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

His Excellency Bui Thien Ngo
Minister of the Interior
Ministry of the Interior
Tran Binh Trong
Ha Noi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

His Excellency Pham Hung
Chief Justice 
People's Supreme Court
Ha Noi
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Editor's last words.

Write for the newsletter! Our newsletter is know being written in
. It is still a bit experimental, so you might find a few errors.
Feel free to submit your commentaries and suggestions .  You can also
read the newsletter on line at:

http://www.cco.caltech.edu/ aigp22/home.html

Roberto (818)796-0876 
http://www.cco.caltech.edu/ rzenit/rzenit.html