September 7, 2017
A prominent human rights lawyer has penned an open letter to the leaders of the ruling Chinese Communist Party calling for an amnesty for political prisoners and democratic reform.
Xie Yanyi, who was among hundreds of lawyers and associated rights activists detained during a nationwide police operation targeting the legal profession since July 2015, said he wrote to President Xi Jinping and members of the all-powerful Politburo standing committee because he believes a democratic future is the only viable one for China.
“I just wanted to speak truthfully … this is something that concerns everyone, and everyone shares responsibility,” Xie said. “I am still optimistic about the future.”
“I believe that people, whether they be the highest leaders within the current system or my compatriots, want the best for our country and for it to complete its transformation into modernity,” he said. “We want to move past dictatorship and towards civilization.”
The letter accuses the authorities of perpetrating a “conspiracy” against the country’s rights lawyers and nongovernment organizations (NGOs), citing repeated allegations by detained lawyers and activists of torture and mistreatment.