22nd Street News

The Caltech/Pasadena Area Group 22 NewsLetter

Vol.IV No.7, July 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

Tibet comes to Pasadena!

Buddhist monks painstakingly create an elaborate and beautiful geometric
diagram, a mandala, from grains of colored sand, a process taking hours,
days to complete, finally to be swept away so that all the sands become
one color and are taken to be dispersed at a nearby body of water...

A huge stroke of luck for the launch of our campaign to free Ngawang
Pekar!  The Dalai Lama is headed for Pasadena later this month and
associated events to promote awareness of Tibetan culture will give us the
perfect launch for our campaign to free Tibetan monk Ngawang Pekar.  Revae
has provided details elsewhere in this newsletter of the events scheduled
for Pasadena, including the rare opportunity to witness the creation of a
sand mandala.  We will be taking advantage of the opportunity to promote
our case and I encourage everyone to take time to enjoy the scheduled
cultural events as well.

This month at our regular monthly meeting we will be focusing on the
details of our participation in the August 4 Festival of Tibet at City
Hall in Pasadena, and finish our long term planning goals for our Tibetan
prisoner, Ngawang Pekar.

Finally, the China Reading List I promised in my last column should be
included in this newsletter.  I've already started reading some books on
Tibet so you can look forward to new reading assignments in a few months

See you there!

Martha Ter Maat
Group Coordinator

Letter Tally - June-July

China Campaign       20
Tibet              7
Turkey             5
Other              14

Upcoming Events

Thursday, July 25, 7:30 Caltech Y Lounge
Monthly Meeting: Tibet Planning

Sunday, August 4, 12:00 noon - 5:00 PM
Festival of Tibet, Pasadena City Hall

Wednesday, August 14, 7:30 PM Rathskellar

Tuesday, August 20, 7:30 PM Catalina Rec Room 1
Video/Discussion night
Summer Fun Feature! "Brother from Another Planet"

The Web-tips of the month. July

Amnesty at the Olympics
Amnesty has scheduled major death penalty actions, focusing on the use 
of the death penalty in the state of Georgia during the time that world 
attention will be focused on Atlanta for the Olympics.  Pierre Sane, 
Secretary General of Amnesty International will visit Atlanta as part of 
this campaign to lend weight to the message that the death penalty is 
the most serious of human rights violations.  One way you can 
participate in the action is to sign the cyber-petition at the above 
web-site.  You can also attach the logo provided there to your own web 
page to help promote awareness of the petition and the cause.

Tibetan Mandalas

Check out these beautiful works of art and get additional background 
information on mandalas and their meanings. Then be sure to visit the 
Pacific Asia Museum and their Mandala exhibit!

AIUSA: Revised Olympics press conference

Amnesty International holds press conference in Atlanta, during the
1996 olympic games, to release report exposing the racist application
of the death penalty in Georgia.
Secretary General of Amnesty International, Pierre
Sane, to present report and a half-million
signatures protesting the death penalty.

Atlanta, July 9 - Amnesty International (AI) will hold a press
conference in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, July 23 at 10:00 a.m. to
release its report, The Death Penalty in Georgia: Racist, Arbitrary
and Unfair.  In tribute to the unwavering commitment to civil and
human rights demonstrated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his
lifetime, the press conference will be held at the historic Paschal
Center located at 830 M.L. King Jr. Drive in Atlanta.

Georgia officials, in their bid to host the 1996 Olympic Games, stated
that the City of Atlanta, embodies the values of human liberty and
equality as well as any city on earth.  As the birthplace of the Civil
Rights Movement, and for many the modern capital for human rights,
Atlanta reflects the high ideals of Olympism.  Amnesty International
believes these claims are contradicted by Georgias violation of basic
human rights, the use of the death penalty.
In addition to the release of the report, the following are
highlights of the Amnesty International Actions Against the Death
Penalty during the 1996 Olympic Games:
 - An educational and organizing tour of AI anti-death penalty
activists. The tour will visit cities and towns in Georgia, Alabama
and Mississippi.  Tour participants will include representatives from
nine European AI Sections and Mexico as well as family members of
murder victims and those on death row.
 - A letter campaign from mayors of former Olympic Games cities
protesting the ongoing use of the death penalty in Georgia.
 - A petition campaign, numbering close to 500,000 signatures from
concerned people around the world calling on Georgias governor to
declare a moratorium on all pending executions and to take steps to
commute all death sentences in the State of Georgia.
- A series of meetings between AI Secretary General Pierre Sane and
civil rights, business and community leaders in Atlanta to discuss the
death penalty as an important human rights concern.

Summer Reading China Campaign Book List

Here are Martha's personal picksdue to an 
inexplicable editorial error this list was left out of the previous 
newsletter, your editor apologizes. for any of you looking for a little China
campaign summer reading.  This is pretty much dictated by what I happen to
own and my personal tastes.

There are too many accounts of surviving the Cultural Revolution to list
here with the exception of Harry Wu and Carolyn Wakeman's "Bitter Winds".
Wu's story is of course still relevant due to his continuing role as a
human rights activist investigating conditions in the Chinese "laogai" or
"reform through labor" camps.  One other possible exception is reporter
Fox Butterfield's "Alive in the Bitter Sea", only because yours truly
played the part of a Romanian diplomat in the Taiwan television
mini-series based on the book. (No kidding!).

"Seeds of Fire: Chinese Vocies of Conscience", edited by Geremie Barme and
John Minford contains far-ranging documentation from the Democracy Wall
era and it's aftermath, ranging from essays, poetry, and excerpts from
novels and television scripts to cartoons, and artwork.  "New Ghosts, Old
Dreams: Chinese Rebel Voices"  edited by Barme and Linda Jaivin picks up
where Seeds left off with voices from Tiananmen and it's aftermath.  Both
collections are excellent ways to sample the range of creativity which
motivated the political movements.  Also in the primary source category is
Fang Lizhi's  "Bringing Down the Great Wall:  Writings on Science,
Culture, and Democracy in China" the collection of the physicist's
writings used for our group discussion.

There are two excellent books reviewing the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations.
"Black Hands of Peking:  Lives of Defiance in China's Democracy Movement"
by George Black and Robin Munro focuses on the lives of three key
activists who, while not in the Western media limelight, were subsequently
labelled as the "black hands" behind the demonstration and sentenced to
longer prison terms than the student activists who were better known in
the West. This approach has the effect of personalizing the story and
making it read more like a thriller.  While Black Hands is perhaps better
at documenting the events and strategizing leading up to the
demonstrations, Orville Schell's "Mandate of Heaven " covers much the same
ground but gives more extensive coverage to the aftermath of Tiananmen.
Schell is a name worth noting as he is a frequent contributor to the LA
Times Editorial pages and his opinion pieces on China consistently contain
a human rights perspective.  If you can only read one book for the
campaign, or are looking for the most appropriate entry point, this is it.
His other books about China are equally recommended.  A third book,
Richard Madsen's "China and the American Dream: A Moral Inquiry"  is less
a review of the events than an extended essay on the question of
Americans' fascination with China and Tiananmen in particular and asks
probing questions about Chinese and American perceptions of each other.
The book is a bit academic and in any case should be read only if you have
read "Black Hands" or "Mandate".

If the China campaign awakens in you a desire to learn more about Chinese
history (just what is this whole China-Taiwan thing about anyway?)  the
best place to start is with historian Jonathan Spence.  His "The Search
for Modern China "and "The Gate of Heavenly Peace:  The Chinese and Their
Revolution, 1895-1980"  are traditional history which may help clarify the
events of the last decade by providing you with a firmer footing on 20th
century Chinese history, but his other works, while not immediately
relevant to the campaign, are written in a unique style which produces
understanding of history through vignettes of both ordinary and unusual
people: "Daughter of Han, Emperor of China:  Self-Portrait of Kang-Hsi.
The Question of Hu" a slim volume reconstructing the life of John Hu, a
Chinese man who went to France in 1722 and perhaps Spence's most praised
work,"The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci" about the efforts of the famous
Jesuit missionary to bring both Western science and religion to China, are
examples of a theme Spence consistently explores:  China's material and
philosophical encounters with the West and the degree and manner in which
China does or does not absorb Western ideas, which means that his books
often tell us as much about ourselves as they do about China."To Change
China:  Western Advisers in China 1620-1960 " and his newest book "God's
Rebellious Son" also deal with aspects of this theme.

For those who are curious about the history of science in China, one of my
favorite books is Robert Temple's "The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of
Science, Discovery and Invention ."  Based on the voluminous scholarship
of historian Joseph Needham, this popularization of his work illustrates
the many contributions of Chinese scientists and engineers over the
centuries and should explode many preconceptions about the pre-eminence of
Western science and the orgin of many of it's most basic concepts.

Group 22's New Prisoner of Conscience
As you have probably heard, we have a new prisoner case.  Our prisoner
is a prioner of conscience (POC) named Ngawang Pekar (pronounced
naw-wan Pee-kar).  He is a Tibetan monk from the Drepung Loseling
Monastery.  He was arrested in 1989 for participating in a (peaceful)
demonstration and putting up posters promoting independence for Tibet.
He was sentenced by the Chinese government to 8 years in prison.  He
was 29 years old at the time of his arrest and was planning to flee to
India as other monks did.  According to the AI file, shortly after he
was imprisoned, Ngawang made an impassioned plea to the Chinese
authorities, at great personal risk, to obtain medical treatment for a
fellow prisoner who had become very ill.  The Chinese authorities
eventually took the prisoner to the hospital but he was so ill by then
that he died.

We are concerned that Ngawang Pekar is in prison for the peaceful
exercise of hs right to freedom of conscience and expression.  We are
also concerned about his state of health as he has been denied medical
treatment while in prison.  Please write to the Chinese authorities
and help us get Ngawang released!!!

This month, we are targeting the following official:
Li Peng Zongli, Premier    Address letters as: Your Excellency
State Council
9 Xihuangchenggenbeijie
Beijingshi 100032
People's Republic of China

Please write to him at the address above, stating our concerns.  You
may mentio that you are a member of Amnesty International or not, as
you wish. If you refer to Tibet, please refer to it the 1st time as
the Tibet (or Xizang) Autonomous Region before using a shortened name
such as Tibet.  (Remember that AI takes no position on the
independence of Tibet from China, it simply calls for the release of
political prisoners.)  Your letters should mention the prisoner by
name (underline it for emphasis).

We are fortunate to have the perfect vehicle for publicizing our new
prisoner o conscience (POC) case - a visit to Pasadena by the Dalai
Lama!  For those of you who don't know, His Holiness the XIV Dalai
Lama, winner of the Nobel Prize, is the religious leader of the
Tibetan Buddhists and is believed by Tibetans to be an incarnation of
the Buddha of Compassion.  He will be in Pasadena from July 3-1 to
August 2 and will provide 21 hours of religious teachings over the
three d-ys at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in order to raise funds
for education for t-e Tibetan refugees in India.  (Tickets for the
three days of instruction are 1-0 and 200.  Contact The Compassion
and Wisdom Buddhist Assoc., (818) 445-2508 fo- more info.)

In conjunction with his visit, ten monks from the same monastery as
our POC, th- Drepung Loseling Monastery (Hermitage of the Radiant
Mind), will visit Pasaden- the last week of July and first week of
August.  This is a rare opportunity fo- us to meet with them and
discuss our prisoner with them (some of them may know-him personally
or at least be familiar with his case).  We can also discuss
our-tentative strategies for getting him released from prison with the

The monks will be participating in several events around the Pasadena
area, inc-uding a Tibetan Festival at the Pasadena City Hall Rotunda
from Noon to 5 pm on-Sunday, August 4th.  Our group will have a table
there to publicize information-on our POC, Nyawang Pekar; provide
information on Amnesty's China campaign; and-RECRUIT NEW MEMBERS FOR
OUR GROUP!  There will be music, food, Tibetan masked/ -ostumed
dances, handicrafts, children's activities, films, a video, and talks
a-d blessings by the monks.  If you haven't signed up already to help
with the ta-ling or other duties at this event, please call Revae at
(818) 249-1419 or send-an e-mail message to
revae@ix.netcom.com .
On Saturday evening, August 3, the monks will perform sacred Tibetan
temple mus-c, chants, and masked dances at the Pasadena Civic
Auditorium from 8 to 10:30 p-.  For tickets, contact the auditorium
box office at (818) 229-7360.  The monks-will also be creating a rare
3-dimensional sand mandala from July 28 to August - in honor of the
Dalai Lama's visit at the Pacific Asia Museum, 46 N. Los Roble- Ave.
To view construction of the mandala, please call the museum at (818)
449-2742 for information and tickets.  All proceeds will benefit the
Tibetan refuge-s in southern India.

The China Campaign

The Trial of a Political Prisoner

They put on a majestic mask.
Their bodies are steeped in fear,
Like a kind of frozen salted fish
They send forth a stale odor.
Sitting in-the judge's chair
They represent unreasoning force
That puts truth on trial.

Sure, you don't have to answer.
All defense is futile
In this hypocritical trial with
No jury nor lawyer
With no judge nor ever law.
This is violence demonstrating its strength;
It is power at play

All this hypocrisy
Has been for too long our reality
Even today, this farce
Still absurdly carries on.

But it is already drawing to an close
The burlesque has to stop
Because the journey of dark night
Has already reached its end.

Peom by Lin Muchen, 12-9-94


Editor's last words.

Write for the newsletter!  Commentaries, suggestions are always welcomed.
You can also read the newsletter on line at:

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

Check out the web-tips links.

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

Amnesty International works impartially to free prisoners of
conscience-individuals jailed solely for their beliefs, ethnic origin,
language, or sexual orientation, provided they have not used or
advocated violence-to ensure fair trials for all political prisoners,
and to abolish torture and executions worldwide. It is funded by
members and supporters around the world.