To this day the fates of many of them are still unknown. And, as for our record of disrespect for religious rights and the rights of minority peoples, China has been no different than any other socialist country.
Compared to the era of Mao Zedong, the situation of this past decade has indeed shown some improvement. However, the way in which present Chinese authorities continue either to disregard or to simply ignore the question of human rights makes for a grave situation.
First and foremost, Chinese authorities have still not completely acknowledged that the human-rights violations alluded to above were wrong in principle.
For example, to this day they still proclaim the antirightist movement of 1957 as necessary and "correct." Since then, the suppression and persecution of people with differing beliefs and opinions has never ceased.
Obvious examples of this policy are the suppression on the Democracy Wall Movement in 1979, the campaign against "spiritual pollution" in 1983 and the movement against "bourgeois liberalization" in 1987. And lest the world forget, Democracy Wall activist Wei Jingsheng and other similar political prisoners have now been in jail for ten years.
Throughout this truly grim period, efforts by some on behalf of human rights never ceased, gaining the support of rights activists and organizations elsewhere in the world.
There should, in fact, be a universal standard for human rights everywhere. Just as the International Declaration of Human Rights has stated, the rights and freedoms that all men ought to enjoy should not be denied.
Intellectuals' Open Letter to Leaders [February 26, 1989]
Source: Ming Pao (Enlightenment) ( Hong Kong) ( March 7, 1989): 10; FBIS, March 7, pp. 18-19.
General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, Chairman Wan Li, Chairman Li Xiannian, Premier Li Peng, the CPC, the NPC Standing Committee, the CPPCC, and the State Council:
Since the third plenary session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee, our country's modernization drive, which is guided by ideological liberation and