Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XX Number 2, February 2012


  Thursday, February 23 7:30 PM. Monthly 
Meeting. Note new location - Tyson House, 
505 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena. (This is south 
of the corner with San Pasqual, next to the 
Credit Union, set back from the street.  We will 
post a sign.) We will be planning our activities 
for the coming months. Please join us! 
Refreshments provided.

  Tuesday, March 13, 7:30 PM.  Letter writing 
meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner of Hill 
and California in Pasadena. This informal 
gathering is a great way for newcomers to get 
acquainted with Amnesty!   

  Sunday, March 18, 6:30 PM.  Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion group. This 
month we read "A Woman Among Warlords" 
by Malalai Joya.


Hi everyone

I'm enjoying a quiet day of respite from the 
craziness of work today as it is the President's 
Day holiday, catching up on household tasks 
and errands, but also reading a good mystery 
novel by a local writer, Diane Emley, about the 
Pasadena PD.

Be sure to read Joyce's column on the 
congressional hearing on the case of our POC, 
Gao Zhisheng and click on the link in her 
column to watch the live webcast.  Also, Group 
22 member Wen Chen and family took part in a 
protest at the Los Angeles Chinese Consulate 
against the persecution of Falun Gong members 
in China.  We applaud their dedication and 
hope the persecution ends soon.

Con carino, 

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers meeting:
  Sunday, March 18, 6:30 PM
  Vroman's Bookstore
  695 E. Colorado Boulevard 
       In Pasadena

   Author Bio

Malalai Joya, at only 30 years of age, has been 
called "the most famous woman in Afghanistan" 
and compared to democratic leaders such as 
Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi. Born in 
Afghanistan's remote Farah Province, she grew 
up in refugee camps in Iran and Pakistan before 
returning to Afghanistan as a social activist and 
a teacher at underground girls' schools during 
the Taliban's reign. In 2003 she was elected to 
Afghanistan's constitutional assembly and, two 
years later, was the youngest person elected to 
Afghanistan's new Parliament, a post from 
which she was suspended in 2007 for her 
regular denunciation of the country's warlords 
and their cronies in government.

  Book Reviews

Kirkus Reviews write about Joya's book: "A 
chilling, vital memoir that reveals hidden truths 
about Afghanistan and directly addresses the 
misguided policies of the United States." 
Library Journal writes: "This book will interest 
those who seek stories of real-life heroines 
risking death every day for their nation." 
Publishers Weekly writes: "Joya was outspoken 
in condemning these warlords she called 
"criminals" and "antiwomen," enduring the 
shutting off of her microphone, assassination 
threats and, finally, suspension from Parliament. 
Joya is on a dangerous, eye-opening mission to 
uncover truth and expose the abuse of power in 
Afghanistan, and her book will work powerfully 
in her favor." 

Noam Chomsky writes: "Perhaps the most 
remarkable feature of this inspiring memoir is 
that despite the horrors she relates, Malalai Joya 
leaves us with hope that the tormented people 
of Afghanistan can take their fate into their own 
hands if they are released from the grip of 
foreign powers, and that they can reconstruct a 
decent society from the wreckage left by 
decades of intervention and the merciless rule of 
the Taliban and the warlords who the invaders 
have imposed upon them." 

The Independent Weekly: "Raising My Voice is 
an inspiring story of courage and Malalai Joya's 
struggle against oppressive regimes, given that 
attempts have been made on her life and more 
are imminent, and her public defiance of male 
politicians is most impressive. She makes the 
case very clearly that foreign aid is going to the 
tribal warlords and not the people who 
desperately need assistance." 

Gao Zhisheng

By Joyce Wolf

The Congressional-Executive Commission on 
China (CECC) held a hearing on Feb. 14 about 
the case of Gao Zhisheng, Group 22's adopted 
Prisoner of Conscience. I watched the live 
webcast of the hearing. 

Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) is chairman of 
the CECC. In his opening statement, he 
mentioned that China's vice-president Xi 
Jinping was at this very moment meeting with 
President Obama. When last interviewed in 
April 2010, Gao Zhisheng said his jailers taunted 
him, "You must forget you are human!" Mr. 
Smith concluded his summary of Gao's case, 
"To Vice President Xi, we will not forget. We do 
not know if Mr. Gao is alive or dead. In 
solidarity with Mr. Gao and his family, we 
know, however, that we are here to honor Mr. 
Gao's accomplishments, his rights advocacy and 
his image. We will not let those who hold him 
kill Gao Zhisheng's legacy. We will not allow 
these criminals to dispose of his significance. 
And, we will not forget Mr. Gao's profound 

Four witnesses testified at the hearing: Geng He, 
wife of Gao Zhisheng; Li Jing, wife of 
imprisoned professor Guo Quan; Jared Genser, 
legal counselor and founder of Freedom Now; 
and Reverend Bob Fu of China Aid. Their 
statements, as well as a recording of the live 
webcast, are available at

Geng He has been a tireless advocate for her 
husband since she and their two children fled to 
the U.S. in 2009. The Washington Post published 
an excellent article by Dan Zak about the busy 
schedule of Geng He and her team during Xi 
Jinping's visit. One of the team's major 
accomplishments was the personal delivery of a 
letter to Xi Jinping from Speaker of the House 
John Boehner about the plight of Gao Zhisheng.

Amnesty's China country specialist suggests 
that we mail cards of solidarity to Gao Zhisheng 
in Shaya Prison. The address is:

Gao Zhisheng 
P.O. Box 15, Sub-box 16 
Shaya County 842208
Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
People's Republic of China

Postage is now $1.05.


by Wen Chen

China's vice President Xi Jinping, amidst 
domestic turmoil triggered by Chongqing Police 
Chief Wang Lijun's unsuccessful defection to the 
US consulate over high-level power struggle, 
visited the U.S. Feb. 14-17. The last two days of 
his visit was spent in Los Angeles. Xi's arrival 
was a rare opportunity for persecuted groups 
like Falun Gong to raise his attention to and call 
for an end to the 13-year-long brutality.
My family and I, together with another ~70 
Falun Gong practitioners, joined a public rally 
and press conference in front of the Chinese 
consulate in Los Angeles on Feb 15. Braving the 
rain, we held banners for two hours. Victims of 
the persecution and supporters of Falun Gong 
spoke through microphones and accepted 
interviews from mainstream media including 
the Associate Press, Radio Freedom Asia, Voice 
of America and KPCC.
Professor Yingnian Wu from UCLA, the 
spokesperson for the local Falun Gong 
practitioners, said: "[Falun Gong] is a spiritual 
meditation practice. The main excuse of the 
Communist regime for the persecution is that 
there's so many people, tens of millions of 
people, practicing Falun Gong. The regime 
feels threatened." 
Falun Gong is a body and mind exercise based 
on the principle of Truth-Compassion-
Tolerance. Since it was introduced to public in 
1992, the exercise attracted more than 100 
million Chinese people because of its health 
benefits and improvement of morality. The 
Chinese Communist Party started the 
crackdown towards Falun Gong in July 1999. 
While there is no official ban, Chinese police 
rounded up Falun Gong practitioners through 
"financial incentives" and forced them into 
prison camps and "brainwashing classes.". If 
they refuse to denounce their beliefs, they will 
be tortured to death. In the past 12 years, the 
communist party detained millions of 
practitioners and killed thousands of them. 
More than 3,500 people have been confirmed 
killed by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) 
The demonstration came just one day before 
China's next leader, Xi Jingping, was going to 
visit L.A. as part of his United States tour. We 
asked Xi Jinping to immediately stop the 
persecution of Falun Gong, to conduct a 
thorough investigation of the Chinese officials 
responsible for the persecution of Falun Gong 
practitioners, and to bring to justice the main 
culprits, including Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Liu 
Jing and Zhou Yongkang, etc. 
"The Communist regime is a criminal gang. Why 
should I have any expectations for a criminal 
gang?" said Wu. "But, of course, as a person, Xi 
Jingping, I don't treat him like a gang member. If 
I treat him as a person then I hope he has a 
conscience and I hope he follows his conscience 
to do something that a person, a human being, 
should do." 
The future chosen leader of Communist China, 
Xi Jinping, arrived in Washington on Feb. 13 
and will be visiting Los Angeles on Feb. 16 and 
17. Xi is on course to become secretary of the 
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) this fall at the 
18th Party Congress, replacing top leader Hu 
Jintao. Just a week ago, Wang Lijun, the deputy 
mayor and the head of the Public Security 
Bureau of Chongqing, went to the U.S. 
Consulate in Chengdu, might be requesting 
political asylum due to the internal power 
struggle within the Chinese Communist Party. 
The U.S. Department of State has verified this 
daylong visit and said Wang left on his own 
volition. It was reported by various media of 
both Chinese and other languages, that Wang 
had a long talk with the staff in the U.S. 
Consulate and revealed much confidential 
information within the CCP. He also submitted 
some undisclosed paperwork. When Wang was 
the Police Chief in Jinzhou City, Liaoning 
Province, at least 500 Falun Gong practitioners 
were detained, 71 were persecuted to death, and 
30 were disabled. 

Falun Gong practitioners, who have been 
persecuted for twelve years by the Chinese 
Communist regime, would like to make two 
-	First, we hope the U.S. government to 
disclose the contents of the conversation 
between Wang and U.S. Consulate that is 
relevant to Falun Gong.
-	Second, we ask China's next leader, Xi 
Jinping to immediately stop the 
persecution of Falun Gong, to conduct a 
thorough investigation of the Chinese 
officials responsible for the persecution 
of Falun Gong practitioners, and to bring 
to justice the main culprits, including 
Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Zhou Yongkang, 

As Governor Brown and Mayor Villaraigosa 
meet with Xi, we would like them to be aware of 
the Communist regime's 12-year-long 
persecution of millions of innocent Falun Gong 
practitioners and help stop the persecution 
within their capacity, including raising this issue 
to Xi. The persecution is a severe crime against 
humanity and affects many US citizens and 


By Stevi Carroll

  SAFE California Campaign

I am writing this column on the day signatures 
for the SAFE California Campaign to get the 
death penalty on the November 2012 ballot are 
due.  The campaign has collected around 
750,000 signatures thus giving the needed 
safeguard to reach the 500,000 verifiable 
signatures. Now the work begins.

At a January SAFE CA meeting, we discussed 
what will happen next.  The forces against the 
initiative include the Criminal Justice Legal 
Foundation, Crime Victims United, the 
California District Attorneys Association, and 
the California Correctional Peace Officers 
Association (prison guards union).  This attack 
will be well funded and needs to be deflected.

In the SAFE CA campaign corner, we have 
Amnesty International, ACLU, Death Penalty 
Focus, the Episcopal Bishops of the Diocese of 
Los Angeles, and the California Catholic 
Bishops (to read the Catholic bishops statement, 
go to

And we have the Briggs Initiative revisited.  
February 12, 2012, Ron Briggs, son of former 
state Sen. John Briggs, had an op-ed about the 
death penalty in the LA Times.  On November 7, 
1978, California voters passed the Briggs 
Initiative, named for Sen. Briggs, which 
reinstated the death penalty in California.  At 
that time, Ron Briggs, his father Sen. Briggs, and 
others believed that the death penalty would 
bring justice to California.

While he says he remains a staunch Republican 
conservative, his and his other family members' 
beliefs about the death penalty have changed.  
"We'd thought we would bring California 
savings and safety in dealing with convicted 
murderers. Instead, we contributed to a 
nightmarish system that coddles murderers and 
enriches lawyers."  They thought that victims 
would get justice and be able to go forward with 
their lives.  The reality is that the appeals 
process forces victims' families to revisit the 
crimes.  Ron Briggs is now a county supervisor 
in El Dorado County and has seen the results of 
the present death penalty process.  

Mr. Briggs writes, "If the murderer had been 
sentenced to life in prison without the 
possibility of parole rather than to death, the 
long cycle of appeals could have been avoided."  
He has come to the conclusion that the Briggs 
death penalty law does now work.  He says, 
"Had I known then what we do today, I would 
have pushed for strong life sentences without 
the possibility of parole."

The closing of the op-ed is particularly 
important for Amnesty International and our 
involvement in the SAFE CA campaign:
"The Briggs family has decided to endorse the 
SAFE California campaign, a fall 2012 ballot 
initiative that would replace the death penalty 
with a punishment of life without the possibility 
of parole. The state has another chance at real 
justice. We should embrace it."

The article can be found at:

To hear an interview with Ron Briggs on the 
Madeleine Brand Show, go to

For now, something each of us can do to help 
the SAFE California campaign is give money. 
Donations can be mailed to 

SAFE California Campaign
237 Kearny Street, #334
San Francisco, CA 94108
or you can go online
As I know more avenues we can walk the walk 
with this campaign, I will let you know.  You 
can also go to the SAFE California Facebook 
page or to the campaign's website:
Reggie Clemons

At our February letter writing, Elizabeth asked 
about Reggie Clemons.  I was at a loss for the 
details of his case.  The following is from the 
Amnesty International USA website.  The link is 
to an informative video about Reggie's case.  It's 
well worth the watch.

FEBRUARY 1, 2012
  Why Missouri should NOT execute Reggie Clemons
Reggie Clemons was sentenced to death in St. 
Louis as an accomplice to a 1991 murder. There 
was no physical evidence and since allegations 
have arisen of police coercion, prosecutorial 
misconduct, and a "stacked" jury in the Clemons 
case. Despite so many lingering questions, 
Missouri is still planning to execute Reggie 

Good News: Joe D'Ambrosio

Also in January Joe D'Ambrosio became the 
140th person on death row to be exonerated.  
Mr. D'Ambrosio was imprisoned for over 20 
years. To read an article and see a video about 
this case, go to

Executions Stayed

31	Nicholas Tate		Georgia

1	Donald Newbury		Texas
16	Gary Allen		Oklahoma
22	Michael Webb		Ohio


26	Rodrigo Hernandez	Texas	Lethal Injection
8	Edwin Turner	Mississippi	Lethal Injection

15	Robert Waterhouse	Florida			

Clemency Granted

20	Robert Gattis		Delaware

UAs    17
POC     8
Total  25
To add your letters to the total contact

Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code C1-128
Pasadena, CA 91125

Amnesty International's mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and 
ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and 
expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all 
human rights.