Action from Group 22 Newsletter Nov 2002

Letter to Hu Jintao, China's new leader

Ngawang Pekar, Tibetan Monk

Every month our group tries to do something to help our adopted prisoner of conscience, Ngawang Pekar. (He is a Tibetan monk who has been imprisoned since he was arrested in 1989 by the Chinese authorities for participating in a peaceful demonstration.) This month we will march in the Doodah parade and carry signs and distribute stickers urging "Free Ngawang Pekar!"

On Nov. 15 the Chinese Communist Party revealed its new leaders. Who's the new leader of China? Hu, that's who. Hu Jintao, Vice President of China, was named to the post of general secretary, the Party's top position. He is expected to succeed Jiang Zemin to the title of President in March.

Hu was the Party leader in Tibet at the time of the 1989 pro-independence demonstrations and became known for his tough crackdown, so one might guess that he's not too sympathetic towards Ngawang Pekar or other Tibetan political prisoners. On the other hand, as Orville Schell wrote in the Oct. 27 L.A. Times, "A [peaceful] solution to the Tibet problem would greatly improve China's global image," and Hu's familiarity with Tibet "puts him in an excellent position to distinguish the beginning of his career by helping to untie this Gordian knot."

Let's suggest that Hu distinguish the start of his career by releasing Pekar. You can copy the following letter or use it as a guide in composing your own.

Hu Jintao
Vice President of the People's Republic of China
c/o Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

Your Excellency,

I am writing to you about a prisoner in Tibet Autonomous Region Prison No. 1.  The prisoner's name is NGAWANG PEKAR. He was arrested in Lhasa in 1989 for participating in a peaceful demonstration.

I believe that NGAWANG PEKAR has been imprisoned solely for the nonviolent expression of his beliefs, and I am deeply concerned about reports that he has been beaten and subjected to torture and denied access to medical care. I respectfully urge that Ngawang Pekar's case be reviewed and that his present status be reported to international organizations.

I welcome the recent release of Ngawang Sangdrol and other Tibetan prisoners of conscience, and I hope to hear soon of Ngawang Pekar's release.

I congratulate you upon your recent appointment as General Secretary, and I thank you for your attention to this important matter.

(Your name and address)